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ow that the busy Christmas and holiday season is past, our thoughts turn to 2008 and what’s ahead. January and February are typically slow times for restaurants and many go out of their way to entice diners. In Vancouver, Victoria and Seattle tourism associations promote their city’s dining scene with low priced, prix-fix dinners (some as low as $15) under various names (Dine Out and Dine Around). Both Seattle and Victoria have Secret Diners who’s mission it is to sample menus and report their finding to consumers. In Victoria, the Secret Diner is actually a dozen professional restaurant journalists who’s visits are anonymous and are sponsored by EAT. All participating restaurants are eligible for a Secret Diner visit. Restaurant names go into a hat and are randomly chosen. All have an equal chance of being reviewed. You can find the reviews, which are posted daily during Dine Around at www.tourismvictoria.com. For your convenience a link can be found on the EAT website at www.eatmagazine.ca EAT is also an active sponsor of the Vancouver Playhouse Wine Festival. We are participating in two food-related events. The first is a trade-only seminar on pairing Champagne and sparkling wines with food. Today’s trend is to drink sparkling wines, not only at special celebrations, but also with dinner. These food-friendly wines go well with everything from oysters on the half shell to dessert. Join popular wine educator DJ Kearny, EAT Vancouver editor Andrew Morrison and a panel of winery principals, sommeliers and chefs to learn more on February 29th for What’s Behind Bubbles and Bites? Wrapping up the 7-day festival is the ever-popular Sunday Vintner’s Brunch (open to everyone) that includes a restaurant wine and food pairing contest. EAT presents the Judges’ and People’s Choice Awards for best pairing. And at yet another festival, this time the Victoria Film Festival, EAT is sponsoring a unique food film showing. Those familiar with Montréal restaurants will recognize Au Pied du Cochon and Toqué!—two of Québec’s, indeed Canada’s, top restaurants. These two distinct restaurants are the behind-the-scenes subject of the film Well Done. As Anthony Bourdain described his dinner at Au Pied du Cochon, “It’s like driving down Hollywood Boulevard naked, wearing a cowboy hat and holding a white castle hamburger in one hand, having sex with two hookers while listening to ZZ Top. Total trash. [And I love it.]” Find out why. You won’t want to miss this movie event. EAT—Gary Hynes, Editor
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Jan/february 2008, Issue 12-01
Editor Gary Hynes email@example.com Vancouver Editor Andrew Morrison Contributing Editor Carolyn Bateman Contributors Larry Arnold, Michelle Bouffard, Pam Durkin, Andrei Fedorov, Jeremy Ferguson, Nathan Fong, Lorraine Forster, Duncan Holmes, Tracey Kusiewicz, Tara Lee, Ceara Lornie, Hans Peter Meyer, Michaela Morris, Andrew Morrison, Julie Pegg, Treve Ring, Kira Rogers, Jennifer Schell, Shelora Sheldan, John Sherlock, Elizabeth Smyth, Chris Mason Stearns, Michael Tourigny, Sylvia Weinstock, Rebecca Wellman
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On the Cover: Noodle photo by Michael Tourigny, 250.389.1856 See page 33 for the recipe.
CONTRIBUTORS Chris Mason Stearns is a Vancouver-based writer, photographer, and reformed bartender who spent the
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summer photographing food & drink on a road trip across Portugal. His interviews with prominent Vancouver food personalities appear in each issue of EAT.
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Organic Fair Inc. is a grower, processor, and distributor of certified organic, fair trade, and biodynamic products, located on Vancouver Island in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. Visit our farm at 1935 Doran Road • Cobble Hill, BC V0R 1L5 250.733.2035 • www.organicfair.com
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Plate by numbers… for a successful Valentine’s dinner! 1
Dial Feys Hobbs
Make your menu choices pick up your fabulous feast!
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EAT MAGAZINE JAN | FEBRUARY 2008
HUGS FOOD KISSES LOVE PASSION FOOD PLEASURE TOGETHERNESS HUGS FOOD KISSES LOVE FOOD PASSION PLEASURE FOOD
HUGS FOOD KISSES LOVE PASSION FOOD PLEASURE TOGETHERNESS HUGS FOOD KISSES LOVE FOOD PASSION PLEASURE FOOD
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CULINARY CALENDAR ✳ CALENDAR
January 2 | Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts reopens & new Professional Classes begin. Visit PicaChef.com for further details. January 14 | River Cottage Meat Book at So.Cial The butchershop at So.Cial has become a Vancouver institution since it opened just six months ago. This evening, it will be the setting of Chef Sean Cousins’ demonstrations and digressions on another revered institution amongst foodies: The River Cottage Meat Book. 6:00 pm, $115.00. For more events and info visit Barbara-Jo's BOOKS TO COOKS, 1740 West 2nd Avenue (half a block east of Burrard) Vancouver, British Columbia, 604-688-6755, www.bookstocooks.com January 16th – February 2nd | Dine Out Vancouver Three-course menus at Vancouver's hottest restaurants for $15, $25 or $35 per person, complemented by BC VQA wine pairing suggestions. www.tourismvancouver.com January 22 | Taste B.C. 2008 – a celebration of local food and drink! Hyatt Regency Vancouver, Regency Ballroom, 4:30-7:30pm, $49.99, Tickets available at Liberty Wine Merchants. www.libertywinemerchants.com January 28 | BC Hospitality Foundation Founders' Dinner "Rooting for the Industry", Pan Pacific Hotel, 6:00pm VIP Reception, 6:30pm Reception, 7:00pm Dinner, $350.; $3500. table of 10, Reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org Jan & Feb | The Future of Farming in BC Speaker Series. For details, visit EatLocal.org February 14 | Chocolate & Champagne Valentines 6:00 - 7:00 PM, $54.00 per person (includes materials and samples, GST additional), Port Moody Arts Centre, 2425 St. John's Street, pomoartscentre.bc.ca On-going | Fridays at Figmint Bg Ben, Brit Pop, Pimm’s No. 1 Cocktail. 500 West 12th @ Cambie, www.figmintrestaurant.com On-going | EBC Market Tours Edible British Columbia continues its bi-weekly market tours of Granville Island Market. For more information or to book online, visit EdibleBritishColumbia.com.
January 12 | Regional Food & Wine Tasting Reception 2:oopm. Kick-off to a series of weekly dinners on Paris, Alace, Germany & the Czech Republic. Receptoin/$50 - Dinners/$75. Verjus 595-1112 January 15 – March 20 | Spring Prelude Afternoon Tea package This package includes admission to The Butchart Gardens and Afternoon Tea. Diners can also upgrade to the Dining Room Restaurant. $36.65. 250 652 8222. www.butchartgardens.com January 16 - 20 | International Dining Series Italy kicks things off at Panache at Bear Mounbtain Resort. Weekly dinners from around the world. 4-course w/wine/$89 Call 250.391.7160 for schedule January 23 | Red Rooster Dinner at Sanuk Sommelier Louise Wilson of Andrew Pellar Limited will pair wines to Executive Chef Patrick Lynch’s six-course menu. Limited seating. 6pm. $75 per person including tax and tip. 250 920 4844. www.sanukinfusion.com. January 24 | Learn how to taste and appreciate tea at Silk Road Tea During a Blind Tasting you will learn the proper ways of tea. Special discounts will be in effect for shoppers that evening. 1624 Government St. 7-8:30pm. $10 per person. www.silkroadtea.com. January 25-27 | Victoria Whisky Festival Always a sell out event – get your tickets fast for the January Festival. Info on the website. www.victoriawhiskyfestival.com. January 27 | Chocolate Feast Dinner Event A chocolate lover’s night of great food, chocolate tips, wine pairing, and samples at Ambrosia Catering & Events Centre. 638 Fisgard Street. 250 475 1948. www.abrosiacatering.ca January 28 | Victoria Wine Society Sip and socialize with fellow wine enthusiasts in these educative and interactive events. This month the theme is Best of BC / blind tasting. Tickets can be purchased at Oak Bay Village Wines (592 8466) or Cook St. Village Wine Trailer (995 2665). Annual memberships are $25 single & $35 family. www.bcwineguys.com January 30 | Seasonal Gastronomique at Spinnakers The good folks at Spinnakers are launching 2008 with a multi course, multi wine paired event co-hosted by Borrowing Owl Estate Winery and The Land Conservancy. Burrowing Owl proprietor Jim Wyse will be leading diners though the wines partnered to Chef Alison Ryan’s cuisine. 6:30pm. $150 per person. www.spinnakers.com February 8 - Asian Tea & Food Pairing at Silk Road Tea Celebrate Chinese New Year’s in style with a decadent tea and food pairing. Partake in a special menu of tempting asian-inspired bites, created exclusively for this event by Feys+Hobbs Catered arts. Taste heavenly savories and divine sweets fit for an emperor! Selected rare and precious teas will be paired with each food item. Learn how to properly pair tea with food, and explore the fascinating world of tea tasting. 1624 Government St. 7-8:30pm. $55 per person. Registration. www.silkroadtea.com. February 17 | The Victoria Tea Festival The Victoria Tea Festival is a one-day event featuring tea tastings, lectures on a variety of topics by experts in the industry, and opportunities to purchase hundreds of teas, exquisite tea wares, and sample delectable tea-food selections. An extensive Silent Auction will be offered. Come join us at the largest public tea event in Canada!, Victoria Conference Centre, $20 advanc, $25 at the door For more info and ticket outlets: 250-370-4880, www.victoriateafestival.com
February 25 - March 2 | Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival The 2008 Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival serves up a record 1,600 wines from 176 wineries representing 16 countries at a record 60 events. The hub of the festival is the International Festival Tasting room (February 28, 29, and March 1) at the Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre, where 717 wines are poured. If you attend only one event at the Festival, make it this one. There are 11 events exclusively for those in the wine and restaurant trade, including two Trade Tastings. The wine pro will find 862 wines for sampling here – 161 wines that are unlisted and not yet available in this market plus, of course, all 701wines that also are served at the public tastings. Most trade events and public wine seminars take place at the convention centre. Winery dinners, luncheons and other events take place at top restaurants and hotels throughout the city. The festival’s crown jewel is the Bacchanalia Gala Dinner and Auction, February 27th, featuring exceptional wines, dining experiences, travel packages and other treasures going to the highest bidder. For more information go to page 39 in this issue.
February 1 - 10th | Victoria Film Festival Ten great days of film returns to Victoria in this popular festival. Watch for details and updates on the Festival website. Out-of-towners can take advantage of the Fairmont Empressâ€™ special offer. For only $159, enjoy a film festival package for 2 people, including accommodation, 4 film festival tickets of your choice, full English breakfast and cocktails at Loungerino (see below). Email email@example.com or call 250 384 8111 for more details on this package.
February 21 â€“ March 9 | Dine Around Victoria As of press time, 55 restaurants and 28 hotels have signed up for this popular annual event. Watch www.tourismvictoria.com/dine for menus and www.eatmagazine.ca for Secret Diner reviews. Feb 29-Mar 2 | 2008 Certified Organic Associations of British Columbia (COABC) conference This conference will be an opportunity for all of us to talk about organic agricultureâ€™s impact on the earth and how we can work together to reduce our ecological footprint. Highlights include: A facilitated discussion on the impact of the recently instituted Meat Regulations followed by the Friday evening reception, hosted by IOPA and COG-VI. Trade Show and Poster Presentations (open at 6PM Friday): a marketplace of products and ideas to challenge your imagination.Practical and interactive workshops throughout Saturday and on Sunday covering a wide range of topics. Saturday eveningâ€™s gourmet banquet. The conference package, including the workshop program and registration form, are posted on COABCâ€™s website at www.certifiedorganic.bc.ca Mary Winspear Centre at Sanscha, 2243 Beacon Ave., Sidney, B.C.
WELL DONE (Durs Ă cuire) Gourmands will delight in this movie, which will take them on a whirlwind tour through the world of two restaurant kings - Normand Laprise, chef of ToquĂŠ! and Martin Picard, owner of Pied de Cochon. Accompany these two stars on their culinary journeys in Quebec, Hong Kong, Lyon and Spain, youâ€™ll feel like an intimate of these passionate, explosive men who border on madness and creative excess. Feb 6th at 7:00 pm at the Odeon Theatre Other events of note: Opening Gala Film and Reception Kick off the Film Festival in style! Walk down the red carpet at the Empire Capital 6 Theatre, and then top it off with far-out dancing and groovy schmoozing at a â€˜70s-themed fete! Loungerino Rub shoulders with the movers and shakers at the Festival. Loungerino is the hub of the Victoria Film Festival for a reasonâ€”itâ€™s a hip place to eat, relax, and talk about the films youâ€™ve seen (or want to see). Sips â€˜nâ€™ Cinema After the film screening on February 9th, join movie buff and Festival Programmer Donovan Aikman in a fascinating discussion of the film while quaffing the delectable wines of Mission Hill. www.VictoriaFilmFestival.com On-going | Every Tuesday at 2pm - Coffee Cupping at Habit Coffee & Culture. Come join the fantastic and knowledgeable staff at Habit in a formal coffee tasting, involving all the senses. Learn about their specialty beans and roasts. 552 Pandora Ave. 294 1127 Feb 16 | Victoria's 15th Annual SEEDY SATURDAY 10 - 4 Find your organic seeds, winter vegetables, fruit trees and plants at Victoria's first gardening event of the year! Master Gardeners, worms, products from and for the garden, displays and demonstrations. Free expert talks on mushrooms, bees, native plantings, productive vegetable gardens, seed saving, and more. Victoria Conference Centre, 720 Douglas St. $5 (under 12 free). 250.385.0485 www.jamesbaymarket.com
January 25-26 | 15th Annual Haggis Extravaganza at McLean's Specialty Foods Scottish Month at McLeanâ€™s culminates in this annual celebration, in honour of Robert Burns. Bagpipes, revelry, singing and dancing â€“ fun suitable for all ages. McLean's is Vancouver Island's major stockist of quality food products from the UK, specializing in Scottish products. www.mcleansfoods.ca. February 28 | Bayside Wine Club Shop and stock in a relaxed environment, while sampling wines and entering to win great prizes. $5 tasting fee. 6:30-8pm. Bayside Wine & Spirits at the Quality Resort Bayside, Parksville. firstname.lastname@example.org. 250 248 8333 Classes at Fairburn Farm Weekend getaways, Saturday market tour & cooking classes, 6-course Sunday veranda lunches, 250.746.4637 www.fairburnfarm.com Saturdays | Wine Tastings at Gabriola Island Village Liquor Store Samplings of import and BC wines. 2-5 pm at the Village Liquor Store at Folklife Village, Gabriola Island. www.vlsgabriola.com
OKANAGAN January 14- 19 | Icewine Festival Sun Peaks Resort, www.owfs.com January 26 | Quails' Gate Library Tasting Quails' Gate Estate Winery, 11:00am-1:30pm, $35. all inclusive, www.quailsgate.com
&RESH TASTES OF THE -ARINA
QuĂŠbec February 21 - March 2 | MONTREAL HIGH LIGHTS Festivalâ€™s 9th edition, the Wine and Dine Experience Held in Montreal this is one of the nationâ€™s top food and wine festivals. Toronto, Featured City, Raise a Glass to Quebec City's 400th Anniversary, Chile, Featured Wine-Producing Country, The Festival's Finest Tables, Festival Lunch Menus, Culinary Tours, Social Events, Free Tastings
2ELAX CELEBRATE AND ENJOY THE -ARINA 2ESTAURANT &RESH SEAFOOD INNOVATIVE ENTRĂ?ES TEMPTING DESSERTS SUSHI
3UNDAY BRUNCH AND AN OCEANFRONT VIEW UNLIKE ANY OTHER
High Lights Info Line: toll free 1 888 477-9955; www.montrealhighlights.com Corrections Le French Cafe hours are 9-5 seven days a week. As a point of clarity for the Artisan bread article. Erika Heyman AND Cliff Leir were both founders and builders of the Wild Fire Bakery.
"EACH $RIVE AT THE /AK "AY -ARINA
✳ EPICURE AT LA RG E
by Shelora Sheldan
Butchers, Bakers and Authors Meat, madeleines and a cookbook celebrating everything round.
make it according to a family recipe with a mix of oats, liver, heart, suet, onions and black pepper and stuffed into a beef intestine – basically a round sausage. It’s delicious with heaping mounds of mashed potatoes and turnips and so good for you. I enjoy it equally served by itself with a side of Dijon mustard. The Orrs make and sell around 5,000 pounds of haggis every year. It’s not just for Robbie Burns Day, although, if you’re thinking of celebrating this January 25th, I’d suggest reserving one or two. And don’t forget the Glenfiddich. For smaller appetites or for first-timers willing to finally give haggis a chance, it’s also offered here in regular sausage form to grace your next breakfast, lunch or dinner. Aficionados of the U.K. fry-up can mine a rich vein at Orr’s. Besides sausages, there is the in-house bacon, both Ayrshire (cured) and Wiltshire (cured and hickory-smoked), made from side and back bacon rolled together. I’ve only gotten as far as the Ayrshire. The meat is moist, has good fat content and is very clean tasting with a faint hint of sweetness. It’s an outstanding product that budding butchers should look up to and bacon hounds should seek out. Another Scottish specialty, Tattie or potato scones, are baked in-house every Thursday and are, according to Rhonda, a classic part of a fry-up alongside the trusty triad of bacon, sausage and black pudding. Fry-ups are not necessarily something to eat every day, but with food this good, this family’s traditions are worth sharing. 6-7103 W. Saanich Rd., 250-652-3751, www.orrsbutchers.com
Round and Round “Making meatballs has always been on my regular menu roster, and this book validates my enthusiasm.”
n the collective pursuit of artisanal, time-honoured techniques, traditions and recipes in this town, one cannot miss Ronald Orr & Sons Scottish Family Butchers. Established in Brentwood Bay in 1979, the nondescript strip-mall location can easily deceive the casual drive-by. But riches await those with a curious nature. Inside, the team of brothers Fraser and Stewart Orr, along with their sister Rhonda Hebb, begin their day at 5:30 a.m. Their daily routine of butchery, baking and business is firmly engrained; the three have worked alongside their father Ronald and mother Caroline from an early age, learning a business that has been passed along the Glasgow-born Orr clan through six generations. (Ronald has sadly passed away and Caroline today makes only guest appearances.) Pristine showcases display wonderful pork and beef roasts, briskets, steaks and chops, and showy cuts of Metchosin lamb. They begin with whole carcasses here, where they can hang the meat for added flavour and cut to their specifications. It’s about quality, consistency, superb customer service and a delicious taste of the old country. Curing and smoking are done on-site, and everything is house-made; their many specialties have earned them a loyal following from all over the island and mainland. Sausages are one such specialty, and Stewart’s claim to fame is a link-tastic array of 10 varieties that include Cumberland, spiced with sage, Pork Breakfast, Lamb & Mint, and the Scottish Slice, a sausage patty. All are balanced in seasoning, meaty and have a perfect fat quotient. Then there’s a rich black pudding – and a white pudding, which is a combination of oatmeal, suet, onion and spice. “Like a meatless haggis” is how Fraser describes it. Sausage meat also finds its way into their selection of meat pies. Puff pastry is wrapped around mega-sized Scotch bridies stuffed with sausage meat and onions. Chicken or steak pie, steak and kidney pie, Scotch pies with ground beef, a ham and egg pie, and Melton Mowbray are also on offer. And of course, there’s the Orrs’ Scotch egg, a boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat, rolled in bread crumbs and fried. All are made fresh, beautifully displayed and delicious. For bread lovers, Scottish bread and the floury, biscuity buns called baps are baked for the store by Irene’s Bakery and delivered every Thursday. Baps are an excellent vehicle for sandwiches and some of these are made here, to-go, with the in-house roast beef or turkey. Since the store’s expansion a few years ago, the Orrs have been able to offer more packaged goods like Branston pickle, Devonshire cream, teas and mushy peas, but also a smart selection of artisanal cheeses, a venture Rhonda has embraced with enthusiasm. Shoppers will find sturdy blues and Cheddars with four to six varieties from U.K. cheese champ Neal’s Yard Dairy. Stinking Bishop is one fine example, rind washed in pear cider (perry) with a soft interior you could eat with a spoon. Please note that in aroma it stays true to its name. Another choice prize hails from Prince Edward Island. Avonlea, made according to an Orkney Island recipe, is an aged cloth-bound raw milk Cheddar, slightly crumbly with a creamy taste. Rhonda owes her knowledge in part to a fellow Scot and lover of the fromage, Nanaimo-based Eric McLean of McLean’s Specialty Foods. “We work with Eric quite a bit,” says Rhonda, “because we sell to him.” They supply sausages, Ayrshire bacon and lots of haggis to McLean’s throughout the year. “He’s a cheese expert,” she adds. “He gives me lots of pointers and helps me with what to buy.” Oh yes, the haggis – that dish very much maligned by many and thought to be even repulsive to some. It is a hearty dish, true, but it’s also a perfect cold-weather friend. The Orrs
JAN | FEBRUARY 2008
Balls! the new cookbook by food writer Angela Murrills, is not only a tribute to the meatball but to everything global in the food kingdom. The albondigas and the boules of the world share centre stage with recipes heralding olives, Brussels sprouts and apples. The 192-page book is seasoned throughout with helpful tips on cooking and presentation, anecdotes and some real “cornball” humour. Those on a liquid diet will find fun cocktails (think cranberries) and well as soups (think matzo balls). Non-meat eaters will relish the chapters titled Vegeta-balls, Sweetie-balls and Salads. Salad? Okay, we all know a salad’s not round, but it’s about the round things you can use in them, food like cabbages, cherry tomatoes, chickpeas and peas. You get the picture. One thing the book has alerted me to – besides the fact that round foods are all around us – is the use of breadcrumbs and/or eggs to create a lighter-tasting meatball. I’ve always preferred just using well-ground meat as a base, be it turkey, lamb, pork or beef. My experience has been that if the grind is fine enough, that’s enough to bind the ingredients together. But extra lean beef can convey a sawdust quality to the final result. Following Murrills’s suggestion of soaking breadcrumbs in milk before adding them to the meat and spices has made a world of difference. (And my world is round, not flat.). Making meatballs has always been on my regular menu roster, and this book validates my enthusiasm. I find rolling them to be therapeutic and the dish itself is not only economical but so versatile. I’m particularly enjoying the section titled Balls Make the World Go Round. Ground beef can take you to Holland, India, Korea and Japan. Even when you don’t have all the ingredients requested, the book works as a brilliant stepping stone to use what you have on hand. The book’s design incorporates colourful polka dots throughout, so even if you’re not cooking round food, you’ll be seeing spots – or are they balls? – before your eyes. Balls! is published by Whitecap Books.
Love on the Half Shell The media would have you believe that love needs to be swathed in chocolate and roses on Valentine’s Day. While it can’t do any harm, I ask you to think outside the chocolate box and consider subtle forms of sweetness. Meet the madeleine. Small like a cookie but spongy like a cake, it’s soft and sensual. A cuddly sort of thing. The classic version has a vanilla scent, others a delicate perfume of citrus zest. France is the country of its creation, but exactly from whom or from whence it came has never been agreed upon. But they have been seducing customers as far back as the 18th century. The unique baking tray with its individual scalloped depressions suggests Aphrodite or Venus’s half-shell. In Marcel Proust’s autobiography Remembrance of Things Past, madeleines made him weak in the knees. Upon taking one with tea, he describes the effect: “ ... at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory ...” Head baker Reagan Nolan of the French-inspired bakery and bistro Bon Rouge appreciates the sentiment. “You have to eat one to appreciate them,” she says. Among the usual suspects of croissants, éclairs and petite gateaux, Nolan bakes madeleines three times a week. “They’re a classic French cookie, but more cake than cookie,” she explains, “and they’re scrumptious.” Nolan alternates making hers with either vanilla sugar, lemon zest or ground almonds. She has a regular customer who drives in from Sooke for a dozen at a time, no matter the flavour. Whether you take them with tea, by the dozen or along with chocolates and roses, let the madeleine invade your senses, or those of a loved one, soon. Bon Rouge, 805 Gordon St., 250-220-8008, www.bonrouge.ca.
James Barber: A Tribute The Irony of How a Peasant Made Our Life Richer —By Bill Jones
ometimes first impressions shouldn’t be your only ones. When I first saw James Barber on my TV screen, I remember feeling vaguely disturbed by the cooking techniques he was using to prepare a chicken dish. “That doesn’t look sanitary”, one side of my brain commented, “…but he sure has a soothing voice and comforting manner” the other side replied “and those flavours work very well with the simple chicken preparation”. This is how James won me over to the dark side, away from my slavish dedication to recipes and formulas and into a world of creativity, inspiration and simplicity. My first meeting had a similar theme, while helping to organize a culinary conference in Vancouver. There were rumblings of Mr. Barber lofting critical missives towards the organizing committee “too highbrow, elitist and out of James Barber with fresh touch with reality” were words that stood out. At hazelnuts at Deerholme Farm one meeting he finally made an appearance, dressed in a dapper fedora, coat over his shoulin the Cowichan Valley. ders, a cane in one hand and a gaggle of admir(Sept, 2007) Photo by Gary Hynes ing females drafting in his wake. He was a cross between an Italian theater impresario and a Harlem pimp. Here was a man with confidence and style that I had to meet. What I found inside the bravado was an engaging and intelligent wit, unburdened by convention, and a person whose analysis of the situation often cut to the core of truth with rapier precision. So began our long and rewarding friendship. His ilk was one of the pioneer, the artist and the communicator, a greatness that is seldom seen in our time. He was a complex man in a constant state of re-creation, soldier, engineer, actor, writer, artist, TV personality, farmer, poet and social commentator. His mind was sharp and active. Every time we met he would tell me of two or three projects on the back burner. “I’m building a 100,000 gallon pond, very exiting stuff ” he told me recently. “James, you’re 84, shouldn’t you be easing into a relaxed contemplation of life” I teased. His wild and untamed eyebrow arched as he replied ‘There’s all this STUFF that I still want to accomplish, life is in the doing not just the dreaming” James passed away suddenly on Thursday November 27, 2007, reading a cookbook (Sophie Grigsons’ latest book, Vegetables) with a pot of chicken soup (from his favourite local farm) simmering on the stove. This is classic James, on his own timetable yet considerate enough to spare those around him from a prolonged and painful exit. He was generous to a fault and so it seems fitting that he would leave the world as he lived. His last days were contented, peaceful and chocked full of activity. I’m grateful for the times we shared, the meals we cooked and the lessons we learned. He was (to paraphrase his wit) Simply Marvelous! His impact was felt in places around the globe, but none more importantly than his beloved Cowichan Valley. He saw the potential before many others. James coined the phrase “The Provence of Canada” to describe the charms of its vineyards and rolling farmlands. He loved the farmers market, the local community and supported every cause or activity that benefited the citizens and profile of the region. James’ impact was profound and instilled deep into the hearts of many who crossed his path. More selfishly, James made me laugh on a regular basis. His inability to censor his thoughts and words had me constantly in stitches. He will always have a Pan-like quality for me, a young boys’ mind that never fully leapt into maturity. In place of the pan flute, James used his words, gentle baritone voice, facial features and sticking tongue to lure the unwary into his parade. He loved the absurd, he loved the mundane; he loved life and its complexities. In many ways he also reminded me of Pablo Picasso. You weren’t always sure what he was creating but you knew it was important, vital and fundamental to the human experience. In his time on Vancouver Island, Providence Farm was particularly dear to him, for their work as a therapeutic community, and as providers of food and services to those members of society that need the most encouragement. In typical selfless fashion, James and his family encourage people who would like to honor his memory to donate whatever they can to the good work of the farm (www.providence.bc.ca). James will live on in his books, art, media, and in the love of wife Christina, family, friends and fans. Here’s to you James and a life lived to the fullest. Cheers!
Lisle Babcock, Buck Brand Citrus
PICTURED LEFT: Mirage Coffee Roastery owner Percy Bojanich stands besides his new eco-friendly Diedrich afterburner which is a filtered incinerator used to lower emissions from the coffee roasting process. Mirage Coffee is a fair trade and organic coffee sold both retail and wholesale. Seminars are offered to learn proper espresso extraction techniques. www.miragecoffee.com www.eatmagazine.ca JAN | FEBRUARY 2008
✳ FOOD M ATT E R S
by Julie Pegg
The Cooking Cure Winter comfort food simmering away in the kitchen is a fine antidote to those inevitable January blues once the festive season is over.
he post-holiday budget let you down about that Club Med escape? Your spirits lower than the bank balance? Cheer up and get cooking. It’s fun to stay in town. Vancouver’s bustling winter market, a couple of nifty new wine shops and a sunny new cookbook will supply enough stuff for homey evening dinners to warm you to your toes.
To Market, To Market Vancouver foodies are grabbing their toques, gloves, a fistful of dollars and an ecofriendly shopping bag and heading to the Wise Hall, 1882 Adanac (at Victoria Drive). Every second and fourth Saturday during the chilly season, this tiny hall, known more for its rootsy-type concerts than root veggies, packs the dance floor and stage with crusty homemade breads, buns and cheeses, squashes with hues as warm as toast, white beets, crisp heritage apples, crunchy chard, kale and winter salad greens. Hot apple cider’s cinnamon smells meld with that of homemade ginger cookies. A fellow sporting tatty tweed and felt fedora strums guitar and sings with more gravel than Tom Waits. Folks spill out onto the sidewalks where more vendors strut their stuff—free range eggs, flashfrozen seafood, more cheese, more produce. A harpist tosses beautiful strains into the street and fair trade caffeine sidles up to the cheese and greens whole-wheat crêpes. I’ve got a cuppa java gripped in one hand and in the other a bag full of purchases: white beets for a roasted sweet borscht (the vendor assures me it’s a spectacular twist on the classic); purple potatoes to turn into a Peruvian potato and chorizo salad; organic garlic for a pork pot roast; and sheep milk feta to crumble over a red onion and yellow and orange pepper salad. I’ve also bought cold-smoked salmon and thick organic yogurt (instead of cream cheese) for next morning’s brekkie bagel. My friend Nancy peers into her stash, then looks up and grins. “I had no idea what to do with the day. Now I just want to cook.” Vancouver Winter Market, second and fourth Saturdays, November to April, 10 a.m.2 p.m. Vendors may vary. Check out list of probable sellers at www.eatlocal.org.
Stores to Wine About It’s smack in the briny middle of oyster season. And what do we quaff with kushis and kumamotos? Crisp ales and steely white wines. And where do we buy them? Some brew lovers and oeno-geeks south of the bridges (Granville, Cambie and Burrard) find them at Firefly Fine Wines and Ales (Twelfth and Cambie). This stylish vino/brew boutique, opened since April, delivers both by the bucket—well, okay, bottle. Instead of
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organizing by region or varietal-governing wine category, Firefly organizes its wines by style: plump, suave, sweet, spicy, subtle and, my fave, black teeth (teeth-staining intense reds, says manager John Hunt). Head for the Racy Wines with Refreshing Acidity section (that’s its name) for a mollusk-friendly wine. As for beer, chill out in the frosty room to discover a heady array of ales and lagers as well as some cool white wines and bubblies. A splendid stock of global brews includes our close-to-home microbrews as well as U.K.’s Fuller’s and my favourite ESB, San Francisco’s Samuel Adams. Firefly offers wine/beer and food tastings as well as other special events in tandem with adjacent Figmint Restaurant. (Check out the Bird-in-Hand Winemakers dinner February 27.) Tastings: Fridays 4 p.m.-7 p.m., Saturdays 2 p.m.-6 p.m. Hours of operation: 9 a.m.-11 p.m. every day. Cosmo Piccirilli, in suave Italianated English, kisses his fingers lightly and caresses a bottle of Solaia as if it were a beautiful woman. Italian-born and raised, Piccirilli, sporting tan dress slacks and smart jacket, perfectly suits his managerial post at Sutton Place Wine Merchant. Unable to attend the sophisticated wine shop’s opening fanfare, I did get to tour and talk wine and wine shop with the charming Piccirilli a week later. I asked who was behind the elegant design. It is Nigel Walker & Associates, and they did so with impeccably good taste. (I’m not surprised to find out the firm also designed the gorgeous La Terrazza restaurant in Yaletown.) Floor-to-ceiling wood and glass give a warm yet genteel air to the shop. Selection at the time of writing was fifty/fifty listed products (available at B.C. government shops) and speculative (not available at government shops). The urbane layout suggests pricing as high as the hotel roof, yet several smart little quaffers start at around $10. Of course, serious cellarings spiral upwards of a hundred dollars. Piccirilli’s mission is to source hard-to-get wines, and B.C. gets a super nod. I spotted a few offerings from Burrowing Owl, Poplar Grove, Le Vieux Pin and Blue Mountain wineries that always require some hunting to find. Piccirilli says that the wine club and public tastings should be starting “in the near future.” He shows me mobile shelves they can move to accommodate a crowd. As well, one wine-stocked wall opens to reveal a salon slated for larger special events. When I leave, the room is bustling. Hotel guests and locals who shop the IGA Marketplace across the street have popped in for a bottle or two. From where I stand, Sutton Place Wine Merchant’s future looks good. 855 Burrard St., 604-642-2947, adjacent to Sutton Place Hotel.
Old World, New Cooking On drizzly days I love to warm up the kitchen with the stove and rich aromas of a slow simmering stew, soup or oven braise. This winter, one of my go-to cookbooks is Alessandra and Jean-Francis Quaglia’s New World Provence. The minute you mince garlic and trickle olive oil into a pot you’ll arrive in “a region full of colour, sunshine and simple yet robust tastes.” Beautifully photographed, the book breaks down into eight sections, from antipasti to desserts. The brunch section is useful. For starters, think stewed squid in tomato saffron sauce or ratatouille. On the night you make this classic vegetable stew, invite a few friends over and rent the Pixar animated film Ratatouille for a fun evening. New World Provence warms to soups—pistou, moules (mussels), fish soup with crostini—and cools down with chilled tomato soup garnished with fresh crabmeat. You might want to top a meal with pear and fig tarte or chocolate espresso pot de crème. From the “Meat Mains” section, I cuddle up to Mamie Suzanne’s Pot Roast (the same one I mentioned above in To Market, To Market). The name comes from Alessandra’s chef-mother. Redolent with garlic, this easy-to-prepare, inexpensive dish feeds four for Sunday supper. Add-ons might be the ratatouille or curried baby eggplant. To whet the palate, toast a few crostini and whip up a quick olive tapenade. Recipes provide shopping and cooking tips, and substitutions where appropriate. The recipe for the pot roast follows, which I’ve shortened here for space reasons: Cut four little slits in a 2.5-lb pork shoulder roast and insert a half-clove garlic in each. In a large pot on high, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil (my note: be careful not to burn the oil). Add four garlic cloves halved lengthwise and 1/4 medium onion, diced, and sauté for 3-4 minutes until onions are translucent, reducing heat slightly if necessary. Add roast and sear for 2 minutes on each side until browned. Add 1 Tbsp salt (this seemed like a lot to me so I used 1 tsp), 1 Tbsp black pepper (I use cracked peppercorns), 1 sprig thyme and enough water to completely cover the roast. Reduce heat and bring to a simmer, cooking uncovered for 3 1/2 hours, until liquid is almost evaporated; there should be a golden brown sauce left in the bottom of the pot. Remove roast and let cool slightly before slicing. Serve jus alongside roast. I like to oven-cook pot roasts in a deep cast iron lidded pot. With this recipe, it is a bit tricky. But you will be rewarded with terrific, rich flavour. Try this approach to the above recipe. After the roast reaches a simmer, transfer it from the top of the stove to a preheated 275ºF oven. Simmer with the lid on for about an hour. Then remove cover for the remaining cooking time. You will have to check periodically to make sure the roast does not dry out and liquid reaches the desired “golden brown” consistency. My wine hint: Fruity Grenache-based reds from Côtes de Luberon, Costière de Nîmes or Rhône. Cold leftover roast? A dry rose partners perfectly. Cookbook available at Barbara-Jo’s Books to Cooks, 1740 W. 2nd and in the Net Loft at Granville Island. www.bookstocooks.com.
✳ E AT Q u e s t
Ebi Mayo perfection at Denman's Kingyo Izakaya.
Hapa Izakaya | 1479 Robson St | 604-6894272 A very large portion. Prawns are juicy and sweet. Velvety sauce has plenty of kick¬. Batter is on the thin side so fast delivery and consumption is key.
Shiru-Bay | 1193 Hamilton St | 604-408-9315 The batter stands up to the sauce but not for long. It's also far too thick and doughy for any prawn flavour to shine through. To maximise their potential it's best to sit at the bar where the service is the fastest. Gyoza King | 1508 Robson St | 604-6698278 These were mushy, soggy and presented without care. Very sloppy. It might be wise to order the gyozas instead. Kingyo | 871 Denman St | 604-608-1677 The batter is the lightest of them all, but crispy and not at all greasy. Sauce is well spiced and conservatively applied at the moment before serving. Prawns come shining through. Top marks.
2003 & 2006 International Winemaker of the Year International Wine and Spirit Competition www.peterlehmannwines.com
www.eatmagazine.ca JAN | FEBRUARY 2008
A popular Japanese izakaya staple, ebi mayo are battered tiger prawns deep-fried and lathered in a punch-packing chili mayonnaise. The batter on each prawn needs to be firm and crispy enough for the cold sauce not to soak through. Consequently, service is key, for if these little beauties aren't delivered fast they quickly become greasy. A must-have for those looking to coat their bellies in advance of a night out, but a fickle frustrater to those looking for consistency.
by Sylvia Weinstock
Look for these fruits and vegetables in your local market
Cream of the Crop Celery Root. The white flesh of this roughlooking brown root tastes like strong celery with a hint of parsley. Add julienne peeled celery root to a salad of grated apples, and sliced shallots, red onions and radishes. It is also delicious in stews, pureed as a side dish, or braised. Beef barley celeriac cabbage soup is a hearty winter dish. Boil and mash the root, sauté it in a stir-fry, or grate it with potatoes to make celeriac-potato pancakes.
LifeCycles Fruit Tree Products These products are made from produce devotedly harvested by volunteers of LifeCycles' Fruit Tree Project. Since 1998 over 150,000 lbs of nutritious food - which would have gone to waste - has been redistributed among homeowners, volunteers, food banks and community organizations. Proceeds from product sales allow the charitable project to continue. Thank you! Pear Brandy www.lifecyclesproject.ca
Garlic. You’ll get a big hit of health-promoting garlic in skordalia, a Greek veggie dip. Puree 6 cloves of garlic, 2 cups cooked potatoes, and alternate adding a cup of olive oil and 1/2 cup of vinegar while blending. Serve with deep-fried zucchini sticks, baked eggplant slices, raw carrot and celery sticks, on crackers, or as a topping for fish.
Hard Cider Gelato and Sorbetto
Chutney Quince Paste
Ginger Root. This zingy, versatile root has extensive healing properties and is a musthave for dressings and sauces, stir-fries, or making tea to ward off chills and flu symptoms. Add paper-thin slices of juicy fresh ginger root to winter soups, such as sliced chicken, chopped Shanghai bok choy, julienne carrots, garlic and rice noodles in chicken broth.
Carrots. Flavourful carrot cilantro soup is one of my favourite winter warm-ups. Sauté half an onion and a minced garlic clove in 1 tablespoon of butter, add 2 diced carrots, 1/4 of a bunch of cilantro, cumin seeds, a pinch of sugar and 2 tablespoons dry sherry. Simmer for an hour, then puree the cooled mixture. After adding 2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock, blend the mixture, reheat and eat. Pretty sweet. Mustard greens. These pungent, peppery leaves are an ideal soup and soul food ingredient. They contain calcium, beta-carotene, folic acid and vitamin C. For a yummy cold and flu fighting soup, rinse mustard greens thoroughly, drain and chop. Cut a large peeled sweet potato into chunks. Bring 6 cups of water or stock to a boil and add the greens and sweet potato. Return to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 3 hours. Sweet potatoes. These orange root vegetables are packed with beta-carotene and are a good source of vitamin E and C. Don’t refrig-
erate them; keep them in a cool, dry, dark place. They are superbly sweet as a roasted vegetable, and fabulous in the following dip. Boil chunks of a peeled medium-sized sweet potato briefly until tender. Mash coarsely. Add the juice of 1 lemon, 2 cloves of minced garlic, a large dollop of tahini, and a handful of minced parsley. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with raw veggie sticks.
Quick Picks Green Leafy Vegetables. Along with root vegetables, these are the heart and soul of winter cooking because they are nutritious and packed with healing properties. Eating plenty of greens will keep you in the pink all winter. Rapini. This slightly bitter green has dark green leaves and looks something like chard. It is also called broccoli raab and Chinese flowering cabbage. Steam it, sauté it, or add it to soups and stews. Green Cabbage. Try it in thick, hearty Italian scafata soup with garlic, proscuitto, fava beans, onion, Swiss chard, fennel bulb, mint, tomatoes and vegetable broth. Use toasted bread to thicken the broth if desired. Flowering kale. These beautiful greens have large, loose ruffled white, purple or pink leaves that branch out from a central stalk. Their pleasantly bitter taste and crisp texture makes them ideal for soups and stews. Flowering kale is grown locally. Spinach. It’s fun to spend a cold Sunday afternoon making a big batch of spinach and feta turnovers that can be frozen for future meals. For convenience, I buy high quality ready-made pastry and roll it into circles. For the filling, I combine chopped steamed and drained spinach, goat feta, sautéed onions, garlic and green onions, parsley, and beaten eggs. (Add olives or sautéed mushrooms if desired.) I bake the empanada-shaped turnovers at 350 F for 45 minutes until the pastry is golden-brown. Swiss Chard. I love the earthy taste and gorgeous colour combination of red chard’s dark green red-veined leaves and red stalks. Look for organic, locally grown chard. Chard, a member of the miraculous cabbage family, is packed with beta-carotene, vitamin C and iron. Escarole. This head of bitter greens has large, pale green leaves with white stems. The white heart tastes sweeter and less bitter than the green leaves. Try it in a thick soup made with diced onions, jalapenos, celery, potato, garlic, bay leaves, white wine, olive oil, white beans and vegetable stock.
Use these SEASONAL ingredients in this recipe. Scafata (Fava bean vegetable soup) 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 2 cloves garlic, chopped 4 oz. proscuitto or pancetta 1/2 lb. soaked and cooked fava beans 1 large onion, chopped 1/4 head green cabbage, chopped 1/2 bunch Swiss chard, chopped 1/4 cup finely chopped fennel greens 1/8 cup finely chopped mint 3 medium sized tomatoes, skinned and chopped
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2 cups cooked spinach (or escarole) 1 litre vegetable or beef broth In a large soup pot, sweat the onion, proscuitto, cabbage, spinach and Swiss chard in the olive oil until soft. Add tomatoes and garlic. As you continue cooking, mash the ingredients into a thick paste. Add the broth. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Add fava beans and heat until the beans are soft. Sprinkle with mint and fennel, stir to combine and serve.
your table awaits…
offering the finest French cuisine in intimate and relaxed surroundings
Pam Grant, Times-Colonist
“Everything on the menu is appealing, a fact only enhanced by owner John Phillips’s enthusiastic descriptions, offered to each table in a manner that makes you feel like a regular customer even if you have never crossed the threshold before.“
READ THE FULL REVIEW AT www.restaurantmatisse.com
located in the heart of Victoria’s downtown inner harbour
512 Yates St. Victoria, BC
Serving some of Vancouver Islands Best Cuisine in a Jazzy Neighbourhood Atmosphere
✳ DINNER RE-WINE-D
Pouring for Parkinsons at Sea Cider Farm and Ciderhouse As I approached Sea Cider on the Saanich Peninsula in the early evening darkness of winter, the cider house looked stunning in its grandeur and lights. Inside, warm and inviting, four long, wooden tables were set for dinner for 50 prepared by Feys+Hobbs Catered Arts. Bruce and Kristin Jordan hosted the wonderful dinner to raise awareness for Parkinson’s disease at their beautiful farm and ciderhouse this past November in Victoria. Bruce, a practicing lawyer, and Kristin, a busy mom of two and management consultant, have worked tirelessly over the past many years to create a legacy in their ciderhouse which opened for business this past summer. Kristin’s family farm on Shuswap Lake has always held a special place in her heart growing up in the orchards – a love shared by Bruce. What is most amazing about this young couple is that through the challenges of starting a new business, Bruce was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age of 39. Bruce shared his very personal story with great humour. This stoic man has handled the early onset of a disease usually found in those much older with great dignity. Though he no longer can write his name with his right hand, he still practices full time as a labour and employment lawyer, coaches his son’s soccer team, and works along side Kristin at Sea Cider. The dinner was held to raise awareness of Early Onset Parkinson’s as it often goes undiagnosed as it did with Bruce for many years. The first annual dinner was held for the benefit of the Victoria Epilepsy and Parkinson’s Centre which was key in assisting the Jordans with Bruce’s illness. A delightful cider cocktail got the night off to a great start in the mezzanine of the ciderhouse. Bitters and sugar were combined with Sea Cider’s Kings & Spies garnished with a fresh slice of apple. Naturally cider was paired with Feys+Hobbs rustic meal of chicken pot pie with cider gravy and dumplings poached in cider – a delicious combination. I will look forward to the dinner again in 2008.
Slow Food launches national website
Live Jazz and Blues every Monday and Friday evening Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner 7 Days a Week Phone: 250-383-1545 #4 - 435 Simcoe St., Victoria, BC Open 9 am to 9 pm - 7 days a week. Till 10 pm Fridays & Saturdays reservations are recommended
Victoria's True Honest Bistro in the heart of James Bay
#4 - 435 Simcoe St., Victoria, BC, 250.383-1545
ounded by Carlo Petrini in 1986, Slow Food became an international association in 1989. It now boasts 85 000 members, offices in Italy, Germany, Switzerland, USA, France, Japan and the United Kingdom and supporters in 130 countries. The network of over 85,000 Slow Food members is organized into local groups — Condotte in Italy and Convivia elsewhere in the world — which, coordinated by Convivium leaders, organize courses, tastings and dinners, promote campaigns at the local level and participate in large international events organized by the association. More than 800 Slow Food Convivia are active in 80 countries, including 350 Condotte in Italy. In Canada, there are over 1,000 members and over 30 convivia, including six in British Columbia. At the national AGM held in Whistler it was decided to create a national website to bring together the various groups from across the country. On the website visitors will find information about Slow Food, news and upcoming events, articles written by Slow Food members, photo galleries plus information on how to join Slow Food and receive their newsletter. The site is easy to navigate and provides a wealth of information for anyone interested in eco-gastronomy. www.slowfood.ca Artisan Edibles releases Pomegranate Hot Pepper Jelly Hot news comes from Vancouver Island’s prima local producers of mostarda, jelly, antipasto and chutney. Artisan Edibles has released a new and limited quantity product for public consumption. It is the intensely red and sparkling Pomegranate Hot Pepper Jelly. Organic pomegranate juice combined with jalapeno peppers adds a sassy twist to a time tested favourite. It offers an exciting visual and texture, but a surprise lies in the zing that heats up even while the jelly matures in its distinctive Italian glass jar and waits to tantalize taste buds. “The pomegranate is the current queen of health,” says co-creator Judy McArthur. “The jelly blend offers an organic, high anti oxidant benefit fruit source and a captivating flavour to create a smooth party favorite. For a list of places that carry Artisan Edibles visit www.artisanedibles.com
EAT MAGAZINE JAN | FEBRUARY 2008
✳ QUEST FOR THE BEST
Ducks in front of Château de Belcastel (Dordogne, France).
Pommes Sarladaise Who knew garlic and duck fat could transform potatoes into the most scrumptious dish in the spud’s considerable history?
h, those Dordognais. The folk of the French Southwest, the region of yore once known as Perigord, give gastro-Puritans—those long-faced, finger-wagging thoushalt-nots of foodiedom—the willies. The Dordognais famously stave off heart attacks with red wine. They pleasure people like me with not only foie gras and truffles, but another, more humble dish worthy of equal fanfare: Pommes Sarladaise, potatoes fried in garlic and duck fat. Earlier this year, Esquire listed the dish, named after the medieval town of Sarlat, as one of “60 Things Worth Shortening Your Life For” (unfortunately, along with refried doughnuts and Krispy Kreme burgers). Unctuous, savoury and garlicky—the mouth fills with the sensation of … yes, fat— Pommes Sarladaise. Sarladaise is simply the most scrumptious dish in the spud’s considerable history. Traditionally dismissed like a wallflower at an orgy, the potato nonetheless ranks as one of history’s great travellers. Like the tomato and the chili pepper, it originated
in Peru, in the Andean hothouse. It has spent the past 500 years wandering the planet, sustaining entire populations with the energy it dispenses so easily for so little, confounding gastronomes with its astonishing versatility and provoking in some of us an unending quest for the perfect frite. The potato was poor man’s caviar, poor man’s truffles, poor man’s everything: Think of Van Gogh’s The Potato Eaters. But early reviews weren’t good: The Irish transformed their little island into a potato farm and it nearly killed them. Scottish Presbyterians denounced the potato because it wasn’t mentioned in the Bible, but nobody paid attention. BrillatSavarin, who ought to have known better, accepted the spud only “as a protection against famine.” And one Legrand d’Aussy, author of the History of the Private Lives of the French, outsniffed everyone when he called the potato “flatulent and indigestible ...” The unflagging campaign of Antoine Parmentier to popularize the potato finally prompted the French to embrace the lowly tuber with Gallic gusto: Parmentier gets credit for pommes frites, which he reputedly served to Benjamin Franklin. Nowadays, peruse the back alleys of Paris and the cardboard boxes spilling from the trash bins of fashionable restaurants are a salut to McCain’s. The English, reeling in the wake of the frite, came up with the chip. In the 1988 film A Fish Called Wanda, Kevin Kline thrusts chips up Michael Palin’s nose, rightly sneering that the chip is England’s only contribution to cuisine. The average American consumes surprisingly few potatoes, and half of that is processed, bereft of flavour and food value, and probably frozen, the coup de grâce. But Americans also invented the potato chip at Saratoga Springs, N.Y., in the 19th century. When I was a boy in Toronto, the leading brand was Saratoga, and I can taste it still. Contemporary chips, flavoured with ketchup, chicken and yogurt (in New Zealand, smoked salmon and capers) impart the sensation of eating a fake fur. Where Peru has at least 1,500 species of potato, we have only a dozen or so. Still, they’re versatile enough to turn up in soups, in salads, in omelettes, in Indian pakoras and dosas, in breads, in sauces, baked and roasted, steamed and grilled, scalloped and hashbrowned, creamed and dumplinged, puffed and crisped, croquetted and courted by anyone in search of easy pleasure. Truman Capote used to write lovingly of plucking new potatoes from his garden, boiling them, and spreading them with sour cream and caviar. Me? Make it Pommes Sarladaises. Ideally, I’d have Peruvian yellows—we have no counterpart—flown in from Lima. In a pinch, Yukon Golds or new potatoes in season will do. Gourmand emporia routinely sell duck fat in containers if you’re too lazy to roast the bird and gather your own. Slice the potatoes 1/8-inch thick. Fry them with slivered garlic, salt and lots of duck fat until the potatoes are tender. Turn up the heat until they begin to crisp. Do the flip side and that’s all there is to it. The Dordognais scenario calls for you to serve these potatoes with juicily roasted, crispy-skinned duck confit. Just be sure to save some duck fat. Then you have something to spread on toast next morning. Invite your favourite culinary Calvinist to breakfast. Then, aha, watch that long face sag like a mittful of untrimmed sweetbreads as you announce duck fat is off the hook, is healthier than butter, boosts your good cholesterol and makes your mouth feel like a million to boot.
Victoria’s Main Attraction Fire & Water Fish and Chop House Signature Prime Rib
Advance reservations recommended: (250) 480 3828 728 Humboldt Street (in the Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour) Complimentary Parking
www.eatmagazine.ca JAN | FEBRUARY 2008
âœł GOOD FOR YOU
by Pam Durkin Thai coconut soup
Is coconut the new dark chocolate? Once vilified for being full of artery-clogging, saturated fat, coconut is now being touted as a miracle food by some proponents in the natural food industry.
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heck out the health and diet sections of any bookstore and youâ€™ll find a plethora of books with titles like: â€œThe Coconut Oil Cureâ€?, â€œThe Coconut Dietâ€?, or â€œEat Fat (coconut) Lose Weightâ€?. The statements made in these books are rather astoundingâ€”they claim coconut, particularly coconut oilâ€”can prevent degenerative diseases, aid in weight loss, increase immunity and treat hypothyroidism. Is there any scientific evidence to support the hype? Letâ€™s take a closer look at this tropical treat. The nutritional profile of coconut is relatively modestâ€”the meat contains moderate amounts of folic acid, calcium, iron, vitamins B1, B6, C and E and has about 9 grams of fiber per cup. It also contains copious amounts of saturated fatâ€”more than beef tallow or butter in fact. So how does a food that high in saturated fat earn a reputation as a miracle food? The people extolling the virtues of coconut make much of the fact that coconut is rich in MCTs (medium chain triglycerides). MCTs are a type of saturated fat that have little impact on cholesterol levels and surprisingly have some potentially favorable health benefits. A study conducted at McGill University in 2003, which was published in the Journal of Nutrition, tested an oil made of MCTs and found that it aided weight loss and appetite reduction. Other studies have suggested MCTs might play a role in improving insulin sensitivity and enhancing athletic endurance. Does this mean the hype about coconut is valid? Not exactlyâ€”what the books and healthstore clerks wonâ€™t tell you is that coconut oil is actually only about 15% MCTsâ€”the remainder of the oil is made up of the type of saturated fat that raises LDL (bad) cholesterol. Furthermore, the studies at McGill and other institutions have used purified forms of MCTsâ€”not coconut oil. In fact only 6% of the oil used in the McGill study was even derived from coconut. And if youâ€™re still being persuaded by the hype consider the Australian study published last year in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Researchers at the Australian Heart Institute compared the bodyâ€™s response to meals prepared with either coconut or safflower oil. After 3 hours the participants who were fed the coconut oil meal had a significant reduction in blood flow due to their arteries reduced ability to expand. After 6 hours the HDL (good) cholesterolâ€™s anti-inflammatory properties had decreased after the coconut meal, but
improved after the meal prepared with safflower. What about the claims that coconut oil can increase immunity and treat hypothyroidism? According to an item in a recent University of California@Berkley Wellness Letter there is no substantial scientific evidence to support either claim. Does all this mean you should forego your favorite coconut macaroons? Unequivocally noâ€”it simply means you should ignore the hype surrounding coconut oil and instead enjoy coconutâ€™s wonderful flavor in moderation, in its original package. Enjoy it as a foodâ€”forget about it as a â€œsupplementâ€?. The common and rather suspicious denominator amongst all these books and websites is the insistence that coconutâ€™s benefits can only be reaped by downing tablespoons of the oil. Not surprisingly, each author and website just happens to sell the VERY best coconut oil on the market. While there may still be folks willing to gag down tablespoons of the oil, Iâ€™d much prefer to savor a delicious coconut custard or a rich Thai Curry made with coconut milk. After all, the fruit of the coconut is amazingly versatile, producing a wide range of delicious cooking ingredients that can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes. The key to using coconut successfully is to familiarize yourself with the various coconut products and their uses and to incorporate them into your cuisine with a light hand. Try experimenting with the following:
Coconut Juice Not to be confused with coconut milk, this is the liquid in the center of the nut. Also known as coconut water it is often used to nourish newborn babies in tropical countries and to prepare tropical drinks. Fat free and full of potassium it is also terrific as a sports drink and as a liquid to cook grains. Coconut Meat The firm, sweet, nutty white flesh scraped from the center of the coconut. You can chop or grate it fresh or buy it desiccated in packages or from bulk bins. Packaged coconut is often sold sweetened, so if youâ€™re preparing a savory dish that calls for coconut flakes make certain you purchase the unsweetened variety. If you plan on using fresh coconut meat choose a coconut that is heavy for its size and shake it before leaving the storeâ€”it should â€œsloshâ€? with liquid. And avoid coconuts with damp or leaky â€œeyesâ€?â€”theyâ€™ll be rotten inside. > CONTâ€™D on the next page
Coconut Milk This is the liquid squeezed and strained from grated coconut meat simmered with water. Available canned or as a dried powder, it is used frequently in cooking, especially in curries, soups, and sauces. Be careful when cooking with coconut milk as it curdles if heated too much. To avoid this always cook it over low heat, stirring constantly and never let it reach a boil. Canned coconut milk will have a layer of “cream” on top of a thinner liquid. Shake the can up before using it if you want a thicker liquid or chill the can and separate the cream for desserts, or as a topping for coffee or hot cocoa. Good news if you’re worried about the saturated fat and calories in coconut milk—“light” versions are readily available. Coconut Cream This is the first extraction of coconut milk. The liquid is quite thick with a ratio of about 4 parts coconut to 1 part water. Available canned, it is used frequently in Asian desserts. For a simple, yet decadent dessert try mashing a banana with some coconut cream and top with sliced Medjool Dates and toasted coconut flakes. Coconut Flour Relatively new on the culinary scene, coconut flour is made from fresh coconut meat. The meat is dried, defatted and then finely ground into a powder very similar in consistency to wheat flour. Gluten free and high in fiber this is one coconut product you can use with impunity. It is a wonderful product for celiacs and others with problems digesting gluten. The best way to enjoy coconut’s rich tropical flavor is in simple, uncluttered recipes that combine healthful ingredients. Enjoy these without guilt!
Hokkaido Coconut Soup 1 onion finely chopped 1 leek finely chopped pound peeled, and diced Hokkaido pumpkin 1 ¾ pound (about 1 large) sweet potato peeled and cubed 4 c. veggie stock 11/4 cups light coconut milk (For a spicier version of this soup add 1 tblsp. fresh ginger-root peeled and grated and 2tsp curry powder.) Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the onion and leek until soft. Stir in the pumpkin, potato and veggie broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmering and cook for 15 minutes or until the potato and pumpkin are soft. Transfer to a food processor and puree. Return to pan and heat through until just hot—add coconut milk and serve. Toasted coconut flakes make a nice topping for this colorful velvety soup!
Heavenly Spread 1 cup dried organic apricots 3/4 cup coconut milk 1-2 Tblsp. Light honey
Pour boiling water over apricots and let them sit for ½ hour . Drain the water and place apricots in blender with coconut milk. Puree and then remove mixture to a bowl. Add honey to taste. This spread is delicious over pancakes, toast or bagels.
Grab n’ Go A
s editor of this publication it is my job to make sure all deadlines are met and the magazine gets to the printer in time. Miss the deadline and you get bumped to the end of the line and the magazine comes out late (I haven’t missed a deadline in ten years). But it means that for several weeks I work lots of overtime and weekends. But hey, a guy still has to eat dinner, right? During this period when I’m chained to my computer I dine ‘grab n’ go’ . I search out good quality caterers, small grocery stores and delis and I purchase pre-prepared dinners ready to take home, heat and serve. They’ve been a life saver for me. Here is a quick sampling of what’s out there. —G. Hynes Feys + Hobbs Catered Arts One of my go-to places is this fine caterer and specialty food shop. Stop in at their Victoria west location and pick up frozen dinners such as seafood casserole, duck confit with ham and beans and meat lasagna. These flavourful meals are ready for the oven or microwave and only need the addition of a bottle of wine and a lit candle to make for a relaxing and fulfilling
break from work. 1-845 Viewfield Road, Victoria, BC, 250-380-0390, www.feysandhobbs.com Cheryl’s Gourmet Pantry Also in Victoria, Cheryl’s is known for its homemade comfort foods. Pick-up soups, meat and veggie lasagna, meatloaf or mac n cheese when when a little TLC is needed. 2009 Cadboro Bay Rd., Victoria, Bc, 250.595.3212, www.cherylsgourmetpantry.com Quince In Vancouver one of the best drop-in locations is Quince at the corner of 3rd and Burrard. Dubbed Quince Express, these ready to go dinners comes in with various options. For fast dinners choose the Blue - heat & serve, fully cooked option (Watch for the black label line indicating luxurious, top of the line and often organic products.) Among the long list of available products are: Organic Coq au Vin, Quince, Black Pepper and Red Wine Marinated Lamb Sirloin, Seared Sooke Trout and Chickpea, Flat Leaf Parsley, Red onion, Cherry Tomato in Tarragon Vinaigrette. 1780 West 3rd Avenue, Vancouver, BC, 604 731 4645, www.quince.ca Carrot on the Run For those living in the Island Hub (Nanaimo)check out this deli and catering company near the Woodgrove Centre. Take home dinners such as Grilled Lemon Chicken in a sherry cream over penne and Transsylvanian Goulash will be sure to please. 250.390.0008, 656 Mentral Dr., Nanaimo, www.24carrotcatering.bc.ca
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www.eatmagazine.ca JAN | FEBRUARY 2008
RESTAURANT âœł VA N C O U V E R
Fresh to Yaletown, restaurateur Glenn Cormier and chef Ryan Zuvich have a winner with their small plates room, Plan B.
by Andrew Morrison Vancouver
OPENINGS Cobre Cobre | 52 Powell St. | Gastown | 604-669-2396 | cobrerestaurant.com t was the beginning of this past summer when I first heard that executive chef Stuart Irving was leaving Wild Rice, the iconic modern Chinese restaurant that had put Crosstown on B.C.’s culinary map and inspired not a few others to fool around with Asian ingredients. I was a little disappointed, not least because I’d just finished a feature that had focused on the restaurant’s culinary trailblazing (JulyAugust ’07 issue). My confusion trebled when word came that he was opening his own restaurant, one that would cast aside the Far Eastern amalgams he was known for in favour of “neuvo Latino” food. The new project was called Cobre (Spanish for “copper”). Together with partners Tyson Reimer (a locally trained personal chef who’d toiled on private yachts in the Caribbean) and Jason Kelly (formerly a server at CinCin), Irving set to work demolishing and rebuilding the space that had previously housed Curious, a fast-failed three-level effort at 52 Powell in Gastown. After several setbacks, all chronicled with techish and witty aplomb on their Chef Stuart Irving of Cobre toasts pre-opening blog (see cobrerestaurant.com/blog), the restaugold tequila with a plate of "vaca rant opened with little fanfare (perhaps frita": peppercorn adobo-rubbed drowned out by lesser restaurants with bigbeef skirt with baby Tijuana caesar ger PR budgets). In the end it has shined through as one of the most interesting in and chorizo hash 2007, Vancouver's busiest restaurant year on record. I was hooked immediately by the look. Modern and clean but still respecting Gastown’s exposed brick and beam heritage, it’s perfectly at home in a neighbourhood that has seen its restaurant fortunes skyrocket on the quick (brand-new celebrated rooms like Salt, Le Marrakech, Boneta, Jules and Chill Winston are all within crawling distance). On the first level there’s a small, darkly lit and dead lovely wine room that has all the makings of a hideaway; its low-slung black leather seats and cubes have no trouble finding wellclad bums on busy Friday and Saturday nights (30 seats in total). The second level sees Irving’s bright open kitchen facing out onto a bar area where the rich amber gleam of hardwood floors and sexy glow of recessed lighting lead the eye up a few steps to a third level where the bulk of the dining goes down (another 65 seats). As for the food, Irving’s switch from Asia to the flavours of Central and South America hasn’t tripped him up at all. The long list of small- to medium-sized plates includes Latin ingredients and cooking terms so uncommon that a full glossary is supplied with it (talking points you can eat). Start with one of the five unique ceviches on offer or the deep red, aromatic soup of charred tomato and achiote paste (rich and ripe with a smoky flavour that hugs the palate). The tacos come in many guises, ranging from a traditional pork “al pastor” version to one with wild boar chorizo and another with battered Baja whitefish with chipotle ajo aioli. The menu flirts further with the exotic as it enters its tapas chapter. Here, peppercorn adobo-rubbed skirt steak comes sliced rare on a Caesar salad with a sideshow of chorizo hash, and imaginative papusas riff on staid originals (think duck confit with caramelized shallot and mole duck jus). With no dish exceeding $15, killer cocktails (they make a mean Caipirinha), eye-candy presentations, and service so versed that you don’t have to be, Cobre is a shoe-in candidate for one of the best new informal restaurants of the year.
͞Ă ŵƵůƟͲƌĞŐŝŽŶĂů ͞Ă ŵƵůƟͲƌĞŐŝŽŶĂů ŵŽĚĞƌŶ /ƚĂůŝĂŶ /ƚĂůŝĂŶ ŵĞŶƵ ĚŝƐŚĞĚ ƵƉ ŝŶ ƵůƚƌĂͲƐůĞĞŬ ƵůƚƌĂͲƐůĞĞŬ ƐƵƌƌŽƵŶĚŝŶŐƐ͟ ƐƵƌƌŽƵŶĚŝŶŐƐ͟
Plan B | 1144 Homer St. | Yaletown | 604-609-0901 | planblounge.com his property (the old Soho Cafe and Billiards location) hit the ground running in early November after a month-long delay that wasn’t helped by the Vancouver city strike. Aside from its nearly perfect Yaletown address (a block away from the swishy main drags), the opening opus from first-time restaurateur Glenn Cormier (formerly the GM at Dockside Brewing Company) leans heavily on the talents of its young chef. While the restaurant was still in its pre-drywall stage last spring, Cormier snatched up a bright light in Bin 942’s former chef de cuisine Ryan Zuvich. Their marriage has produced a small- plates menu reminiscent of the many Bin clones that have sprung up in recent years, although with bolder strokes (that we’ll get to in a moment). It’s a cavernous space, about 3,000 square feet in total
͞͞ƐƉĂƌŬůĞƐ ƐƉĂƌŬůĞƐ ůŝŬĞ ůŝŬĞ Ă ŶŝŐŚƚ ŶŝŐŚƚ ŝŶ ZŽŵĞ ZŽŵĞ ǁŝƚŚ 'ŝŶĂ >ŽůĂďƌŝŐŝĚĂ͟ >ŽůĂďƌŝŐŝĚĂĂ͟ Mark Laba - Vancouver Sun
1037 Alberni Street Downtown reserve: 604-687-2858 www.theitaliankitchen.ca www.glowbalgroup.com
(including the kitchen) with a seating capacity of 100. Cormier designed it himself, and though the resulting look is a little too Spartan on the personality front for my tastes, thereâ€™s no deficit in gravitas. Long, thin and sporting the air of an early Yaletown warehouse conversion with old brick walls and ceilings so high that clouds may gather, it manages to achieve a certain charm that borders on homeyness (if it were mine Iâ€™d toss most of the furniture out save for a corner table of eight, and then throw in a bed and a clawfoot tub before moving in). Its three distinct zones smack of an homage to Chambar, the popular and super-hip Belgian-Moroccan restaurant on Beatty. They may be separated by many several city blocks, but they share some striking similarities. Upfront by the door itâ€™s casual and lounge-ish, and the middle is waisted by a cool, 15-seat bar that projects confidence (itâ€™s the prime piece of real estate in the room). The rear funnels out to a larger dining area that drips sex appeal, and, like Chambar, there is a peekaboo kitchen. Thereâ€™s also hardwood throughout and smooth music dialled in. My first pass saw me digging tender little tournedos of beef striploin capped by golden buttermilk onion rings and sexed up with Madeira (its accompanying tian of goat cheese, green bean and potato was the most agreeable addendum Iâ€™d eaten in weeks). Also of note was a sweet peach and sake braised cube of tacky, melt-ready pork belly. Plated alongside a slightly overdone and very slight slice of pork loin flavoured with vanilla (some imagination at play there), it was a lovely (if miniature) spread and ambitiously priced at $20 (theyâ€™ve since knocked it down to $18). A pork crackling garnish added some fine visual and textural touches, but it was otherwise sad without seasoning (dusted with bland). The service is tight from front door to cheque, and the feel is refreshingly genuine. How well theyâ€™ll do so semidetached from the madding crowds cruising the Yaletown slow lanes of Hamilton and Mainland is a different story, but with Brix Restaurant still going strong after eight years right next door, thereâ€™s plenty of reason to hope. Who knows, perhaps Plan B may soon want to choose a less self-deprecating name for itself.
Me and Julio Me and Julio | 2095 Commercial Dr. | East Vancouver | 604-696-9997 | meandjulio.ca his Mexican-themed restaurant struck a quick nerve on the east side, staying absurdly busy since opening this past October. Its success hasnâ€™t come as a surprise, though, a fact evidenced by the ease with which the owners seem to be handling the nightly swarms. Me and Julio is the work of sibling duo Jaison and Lila Gaylie (also formerly of the Bin 942), the very same pair that launched Davieâ€™s wildly popular, similarly themed, and award-winning Lolitaâ€™s South of the Border Cantina. Theyâ€™ve now brought Lolitaâ€™s executive chef Shelome Bouvette into the ownership fold as a partner, and together theyâ€™ve succeeded in conjuring up for their new location some of the tiki soul that has long intoxicated Lolitaâ€™s diners at first sight. And whatâ€™s not to like? The original, with its big flavours, loud music, tattoos, and painted middle finger lifted to tradition, might not square well with some culinary literalists who cry â€œsacrilege!â€? at all the fun theyâ€™ve Me & Julio's battered prawn been having with Mexican cuisine, but they tacos brightened with chili de donâ€™t get the point. Like Lolitaâ€™s the elder, Me arbol and pickled cabbage and and Julio is all about the good time. They crank a fun-in-the-sun mix of reggae and ska paired with a silver tequila cockthat, if youâ€™re in the mood for it, can spirit you tail, the pineapple mint fizz. away to a place where the bamboo-thatched kitchen window and bar here start to make sense. (With decor that tries to capture the feel of a booze-soaked beach saloon, it has all the makings of a mini-holiday.) The dishes, laudable for their inventiveness, presentation and price point, are not secondary attractions to the scene. â€œMust-havesâ€? include slow-roasted and pulled beef brisket taquitos â€“ little rockets that would knock any palate off-balance; and smoked chicken empanadas fattened up with poblano and white Cheddar and kicked with citrus. As at Lolitaâ€™s, tacos are a specialty and hold centre stage on the menu. There are six versions in all. The achiote-spiced pulled chicken with salsa verde was a little weak on substance, but the battered prawn type with spiced mayo, jicama and pile of pickled cabbage lit me up. Set on four perfect corn tortillas and plated with rice, black beans and mesclun greens, they convincingly fill the belly. The drinks are of a calibre that could compete in a Best in Show contest, with a focus on bright, tropical flavours and over-the-top presentations sporting little umbrellas. I can only assume a simple gin and tonic order would be a welcome respite for the bartenders. In all, a fine find on a section of the Drive that could use a kick in the pants.
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EAT MAGAZINE JAN | FEBRUARY 2008
49th Parallel Coffee Roasters | 2152 W. 4th | Kitsilano | 604-420-4901 | 49thparallelcoffeeroasters.com hen Vince and Sammy Piccolo sold their growing and critically acclaimed Italianstyle Caffe Artigiano cafĂŠ empire (five locations) to Earls Restaurant executive Willie Mounzer in October 2006, Vancouverâ€™s caffeinated class let out a collective gasp. I suspect not a few fans worried the cafĂŠs would be dumbed down some, but that happily hasnâ€™t been the case. The Piccolos havenâ€™t disappeared from the landscape, either. Far from it. Instead, theyâ€™ve turned inward to concentrate on their burgeoning coffee roasting company, 49th Parallel, and have now opened a retail outlet and cafĂŠ on Kitsilanoâ€™s W. 4th strip. Itâ€™s a thing of swell-smelling beauty, too, with impossibly high ceilings, comfortable
49th Parallel Coffee Roasters
Defining Eclectic Zagat-rated for “Top Eclectic Cuisine,” Trafalgars Bistro is elegant, but unpretentious. Chef Chris Moran combines fresh seasonal ingredients in exotic ways on his adventurous, cross-cultural menus. An excellent, affordable wine list focuses on BC wines while decadent desserts, prepared by sister operation Sweet Obsession Cakes & Pastries, have won awards and a fan following.
Now, you’ve got plans.
Trafalgars Bistro proudly serves sustainable seafood dishes under the symbol of Ocean Wise, a conservation program of the Vancouver Aquarium.
Open daily 11am to 4pm & 10am to 4pm Sat/Sun and holidays Dinner menu from 5pm Monday to Saturday 2603 West 16th Avenue, Vancouver, BC | Tel 604 739 0555 ext. 1 www.opentable.com | www.trafalgars.com
www.planblounge.com www.planblounge.com email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Homer 11144 14 4 H omer Street Street 604 60 4 609 0901 0901
www.eatmagazine.ca JAN | FEBRUARY 2008
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bistro seating (it can get tight!), great music and fast service. A soothing colour palette of white, chocolate brown and light blue exudes a modern and urban feel, which constitutes a significant divorce from the kitsch Palio aesthetic of Caffe Artigiano. Within just a few days of opening, they were picked as the top café in Vancouver by a jury of sommeliers and coffee “cuppers” representing the Krup “Cup of Excellence,” a designation given to only the best cafés in the country. It’s a well-deserved accolade, for not only is it lovely to look at and a pleasure to loiter in, they also make a fantastic cup of coffee. They grind, brew and sell their own beans (in triple-layer laminate packages filled within an hour of the roast), as well as pimp their own range of cups and saucers in the same blue and brown colours as the interior and the branding. Beans are sourced directly from the growers to ensure they receive the majority of the price paid (they call this “Relationship Coffee”), and they are some of the highest quality available (several other high-end cafés brew 49th’s beans). 49th also serves plenty of baked goods for those wanting something more (or to Elegant and caffeinated: star keep the kiddies occupied). Try the slightly barista Colter Jones steams at overbaked ham and cheese croissants and follow up with delicious chocolate and sour Kitsilano's new knockout café: cherry cakes if you must. In the end, how- 49th Parallel ever, the dark stuff is the main draw, as amply evidenced by the company’s single-minded slogan: “Black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as love.” For straight coffee they use a “per cup” brewing machine called a Clover that pours consistent perfection, and I don’t think I’ve had a finer espresso anywhere (some of the best baristas in Canada work here, including past Canadian champion Colter Jones). For certain, the coffee savvy neighbourhood is eating it up. They’ve only been open for a couple of months now, but there seem to be only a few hours in the day when finding a place to sit isn’t a bother.
The District Social The District Social | 13 Lonsdale Ave. | North Vancouver | 778-338-4938 | thedistrictsocial.com he Lower Lonsdale area of North Vancouver is turning into an inviting little neighbourhood, a selfcontained unit that has almost everything a person could want from cool little shops to cafés, bakeries and restaurants. Real estate agents and property developers hype it up as “the new Yaletown,” and even though they’re way ahead of themselves, it’s certainly an area that has come a long way in a short while. On the same block that houses such popular rooms as Raglan’s, Burgoo and Gusto Di Quattro comes The District Social, and I hope it’s in for a long ride. I’m a sucker for places that are reflections of their postal code, and The District is about as near a mirror to its own as one could imagine. Its warm and unpretentious vibe, easy looks and affordable comfort food hit all the right notes. On a recent visit, a cold and slow week night, I found one of the owners, Jeff Murl, holding court behind the bar. He may not Gascony duck-stuffed spring have the sort of industry pedigree that’s become a kind of currency in this town (his rolls delight with a glass of background is in finance and he still pulls Belgium's Karmeliet Tripel beer shifts as a ski instructor), but he was attenat North Vancouver's new tive and refreshingly easygoing. His partner Paul Mon-Kau (formerly Cactus Club District Social. and Urban Well) was there too, tattooed and equally casual, updating the restaurant’s website on a laptop. Their brand of service is that of the fine pub breed, without uniforms or airs, and should you require conversation, it’s yours. A preamble to their menu relates how they’ve tried to capture the feel of a Belgianstyle brasserie, but this may be an ambitious reach. They offer a superb selection of Belgian beers (moules frites, too), but a lot of the dishes are about as far removed from Brussels as the moon (even if the wok-tossed and soy-soaked spicy beans would pair nicely with a goblet of Leffe beer). Despite the conceptual confusion, they aren’t running a deficit in quality. Well-executed crab and shrimp cakes make for a delicious starter (simply served with pea shoots), while duck confit spring rolls, tightly wound and packed with rich duck flavour, leap off the plate. Neither are very original (it’s a greatest hits menu), but I doubt they’ve set out to reinvent the wheel. The nightly pasta special District Social CONT’D ON THE NEXT PAGE
EAT MAGAZINE JAN | FEBRUARY 2008
The EATBUZZ. café
t's been another hectic couple of months in Vancouver's restaurant scene with several openings, closings, happenings, and employee shuffles worthy of mention. Perhaps the biggest news was the melodramatic exit of Rob Feenie from his own restaurants, Feenie's and Lumiere. His replacement at the latter, Dale Mackay (who Rob Feenie personally hired away from Gordon Ramsay in New York back in August), was welcomed by a doubting media blitz (two lukewarm reviews within his first month), while the chef de cuisine at the former, Jasmin Porcic, promptly gave his notice, as did several other staff members. There's still no news yet as to what the Iron Chef's next move will be, but there have been reports of a "non-compete" clause in the contract he sign with his investors, so I can only assume that until this gets worked out by the lawyers he'll be stuck doing private catering gigs. When he does eventually open a new place (I've heard rumblings of a new group of money men and several location options - nothing confirmed) it will likely get hit hard and fast. Let's just hope the fellow manages his next business as well as his celebrity, for one thing is for certain: he'll have lots of competition. …On Hamilton St. in Yaletown, a fun new steakhouse concept called Pinkys has arrived courtesy of some of the folks behind Cactus Club and Browns chains (in the old LilyKate spot). Right next door is a newly minted wine bar called Flite (formerly Lucky Diner). Both have gained early traction with the neighbourhood, and are more casual than Yaletown's fancypants reputation would suggest. A block to the north (Mainland St.) has seen the arrival of Tequila Kitchen, a brand new Mexican restaurant that seemed to open overnight after the closure of Melriches. Further north on Beatty next to Chambar, work on the breakfast and lunch only Medina Cafe continues apace, and there's a good chance they'll be open shortly after the new year. …In Gastown, the neighbourhood the never sleeps, there are more new restaurants on the way. The Lamplighter has been taken over by pub giants Donnelly Hospitality Management (think booze can with not-so-stellar food), and Sean Heather has expanded Blood Alley's awardwinning Salt Tasting Room into the basement with a starkly gorgeous 50-seat private room called the Salt Cellar (at the west end of the alley Jules Bistro is set to expanding, too). The Transcontinental Heritage Restaurant and Railway Lounge has been rebranded after just a few months in business. The massive restoration project recently completed in the old CP
terminus on West Cordova was the magnum opus of Eli Gershkovitz, owner of the Steamworks chainlet (there is a location next door). With more everyman fare and less formality across the board, it is now known as Steamworks Transcontinental (across the water in West Vancouver, Gershkovitz has also sold his Park Royal location. It was purchased by The Cactus Club despite the fact that there's a Cactus Club less than a pitching wedge away. Word is that after a refit and a rebrand it will be called Steamworks Taphouse). …Back downtown and next door to Alberni's Italian Kitchen (which continues to pack them in), the Glowbal Group has just opened a take-out cafe called Italian Kitchen To Go. They've also picked up the Chianti Cafe space on West 4th (it suddenly closed after 19 years in business). They don't have a concept for it yet, but if my most recent experiences at their most newest efforts (Sanafir and Italian Kitchen) are anything to go on then we can assume it will focus more on fashion than food. …On Granville Rise, it appears the once legendary Star Anise has been put up for sale, while to the west on Broadway, Sean Sherwood has sold his Fiction Wine Bar to Ivo Staiano (formerly of Balthasar). Nu has reasons to celebrate (and I'm not referring to their recent purchase of far more comfortable chairs): former Rosemeade and Opus Bar star Chad Gaskell has signed on as bar manager. …In local media news, Film maker Craig Noble (brother of Joie Winery principal Heidi Noble) premiered Tableland, his illuminating and inspiring new documentary on local and sustainable food production. The film featured informative (and sometimes very entertaining) segments with Peter Zambri (of Victoria's Zambri's), Sinclair Philip (of Sooke Harbour House), and several other BC bright lights. A post-premiere Q&A was mediated by Terry David Mulligan, who also held court at an after-party hosted by Chow restaurant. …In hotel news, the Loden Vancouver and its Voya restaurant (cheffed by ex-Lumiere chef de cuisine Marc-Andre Choquette) are still aiming to open later this winter in Coal Harbour after a six month delay. On a side note: they've scrubbed their website (LodenVancouver.com) clean of all evidence of their "up to the minute" blog, The Green Room, which was neither up to the minute nor green (rather a useless waste of space, actually). Meanwhile on Hornby, the Wedgewood Hotel and its formal Bacchus restaurant have been accepted into the elite fraternity of international properties, Relais & Chateaux. It is the first Vancouver hotel to get the designation (Vancouver Island boasts two R&C properties: The Wickaninnish and The Aerie). Last but certainly not least, by the time this goes to print the Four Seasons Vancouver will have launched their new and much anticipated West Coast-themed restaurant, Yew. Look for a report in our next issue. —Andrew Morrison Clarification: In the last issue of EATBuzz I wrote a line that inferred ownership of a failed restaurant to chef Gianni Picci ("Gianni Picchi's unfortunate Westside, which lasted a mere five months..."). To clarify, Mr. Picci was the chef, not the owner.
District Social from previous page is also a good bet as young chef Reid McLellan is fresh from the exacting yoke of Yaletown’s award-winning Cioppino’s. His basic fettuccine with tomato and chorizo was a straightforward pleaser, and his venison stew completes a picture of wintry earthiness that gels well with the blond wood and brown leather decor. A surprisingly deep selection of charcuterie and cheeses round out an already impressive card. This is a very welcome addition, and one definitely worth taking the SeaBus for.
www.eatmagazine.ca JAN | FEBRUARY 2008
RESTAURANT âœł VICTORIA
Some of the finest, fresh and seasonal Japanese food in the city is found at Daidoco. Clockwise from the back: tuna roll, salmon-Don: marinated wild sockeye salmon, rice and miso soup
EAT MAGAZINE JAN | FEBRUARY 2008
Victoria Daidoco Daidoco, | 633 Courtney St, | Unit A22, near Douglas in a courtyard behind the Bug Zoo, | 388-7383 aidoco has a tone not only of casual elegance, but also of discretion and exclusivity, as it is a bit hard to find, tucked as it is behind the Bug Zoo downtown on Courtney. This petite, intimate Japanese restaurant has a soothing ambience with its brick accent wall and wood furnishings. The food is just as appealing. An ever-changing delicatessen display of four different dishes is presented as one way to eat. A salad of organic kabocha squash, organic baby beets, and soybeans with dijon-miso dressing is a beautiful medley of orange, soft purple, and green. “Ohitashi” is another intriguing salad. Chewy, almost meaty, deep-fried tofu is tossed with just-wilted, vibrant Japanese greens called “komatsu-na; it is all then marinated in a sweet soy sauce. The daily special also had an exotic twist, including as it did steamed, edible chrysanthemum, a disk of simmered organic daikon radish, and a generous serving of cooked rockfish, all covered in a rich, sweet soy sauce. This cost $6.50, or $8.50 with rice and miso soup added. A final option is the more conventional, but exquisitely executed “don” bowls, with raw or seared fish, or tofu, in a bowl of lightly vinegared rice, all sprinkled with an attractive garnish of dry strips of seaweed. These bowls range from $5.50 to $6.50. You can enjoy these meals during their official hours of 11:00 to 4:00, but the insiders know this: Daidoco closes when the food sells out, which can be as early as 1:30, so plan for an elegant early lunch. —Elizabeth Smyth
Café Mela Café Mela, | 784 Humboldt, between Blanshard and Douglas, | 383-0288 igh tea at Café Mela – it’s an utterly feminine experience, complete with a sense of time travel back to Jane Austen’s day. The deep rose coloured chairs, the opulent striped soft bench seating, the ornate chandeliers, are all a backdrop to an exquisite high tea. Sandwiches are classic – cucumber and cream cheese, ham and mustard – and modern – turkey with a twist of pesto. The bread is simple and refined, allowing the flavours of the fillings to dominate. The sandwich pieces are arrayed in a starburst around fruit salad served in a demi-tasse cup, a thoughtful touch that allows the guest to discretely drink the juice from the fruit salad without enormous social shame. The scones come next on the savoury-tosweet spectrum. These ones are buttery, flaky, perfect, impeccably served with organic strawberry jam and fluffy fresh whipped cream. And then finally, the pieces de resistance – hazelnut-filled Chocolate Ganache Tarte and specially commissioned Mela Cake, a moist almond and raspberry-jam filled concoction draped in delicate rose-pink icing. This is not just a meal – it is an experience in elegance. The tea for two for $32 does qualify as a treat for a budget gourmet as it can actually feed more; two adults and a small child can all enjoy this as a lovely meal and a special event combined. —Elizabeth Smyth
Bistro Suisse Bistro Suisse, | 2470 Beacon Avenue, near Third Street, Sidney, | 656-5353 ore European atmosphere, and both elegant and hearty food, can be found at Bistro Suisse in Sidney. The lunch menu has numerous offerings for under $12. The onion tarte on the appetizer menu is superb – it is so packed with flavour that I reverentially held each bite still in my mouth and let it melt while flavours of bacon, onion, and cheese melded in my mouth. On the side is a salad with a tart bite of mustard to complement the hint of creamy sweetness in the tarte. This delicacy is priced at $7. The avocado and shrimp with brandy sauce is just $10. Shrimp spill out of a half avocado shell, onto a fan of avocado slices; this attractive little cornucopia is then drizzled with a light topnote of brandy sauce. On the side are edible accents of grated carrot and beet salad. For a more robust meal at $11, the schnitzel and rosti dish bursts with flavour. Rosti (pronounced REUSH dee) looks like a golden omelette, but is actually made from baked potato in a jacket that is cooled for a day, peeled, grated, and then fried with onions in butter. Beside it is the schnitzel – breaded pork pounded paper-thin in crispy, gold, buttered breadcrumbs and served with a squeeze of lemon. The food is so well-seasoned that chef Lucien Frauenfelder refuses to put salt and pepper on the table for fear that a customer will tamper with his careful seasoning. And rightly so! It is clear the care that has gone into the food. —Elizabeth Smyth
The EATBUZZ. café
| Victoria | NEW BEGINNINGS Big changes to report at Laurel Point Inn. A new management team has been carefully assembled over the last year to focus on the potential of the Inn as a great place for both guests to stay and for locals to dine. One of the first phases in the Food & Beverage department has been a refreshed a la carte menu from Executive Sous Chef Dave Cartner (Temple, Tigh Na Mara) featuring local, organic and sustainable ingredients, along with the relaunched popular Sunday Brunches. A new regionally focused wine & beverage list has also been launched by Outlets Manager Stuart Bruce (Hotel Grand Pacific, Sanuk) to match the offerings. In early 2008 the Laurel Point's infamously-retro piano lounge is slated for a long awaited facelift. After a brief closure, it will reopen led by Food & Beverage Director Milo Brucks (The Marina, River Cree Casino) and Hotel Manager Scott Hoadley (Fairmont Bermuda, Ocean Pointe Resort). Plans for the reno include a spectacular waterfront patio. www.laurelpoint.com >
www.eatmagazine.ca JAN | FEBRUARY 2008
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Simply Elegant Cuisine has taken over the task of producing the meals for the Victoria chapter of Meals on Wheels. This program delivers hot ready-made meals to those in the community who are unable to shop and/or cook for themselves. All meals are now made entirely from scratch daily with only the freshest ingredients giving the recipients proper nutrition and conforming to the latest Canada food guide standards. 2006 & 2007 Vancouver Island Chef of the Year Andrew Dickinson has joined Simply Elegant Cuisine as their Chef de Cuisine, and Mike Upward, the Junior President of the Canadian Culinary Federation Victoria, has come on board as Lead Cook. Steve Walker-Duncan and his wife Lori took over the ownership of Ambrosia Catering & Event Centre from former owner Dominique Chapheau last fall, and run SEC from there. Vicâ€™s Steakhouse & Bar will be opening in Harbour Towers Hotel in mid-January. The concept is â€œThe Great Canadian Steakhouseâ€? featuring top quality Sterling Silver cuts, distinctly Canadian food influenced by the grill and flavours of the local Victoria area, all paired with inspiring wine selections from BCâ€™s top wineries. Running the show are Executive Chef Corey Jessup (previously of Vista 18) and Assistant F & B Manager Tracy Coligado (previously from Canoe Brewpub). 345 Quebec Street. 250 480 6585. Darcy Ladret has recently opened Sugar Boy Bakery, with a focus on making top quality cakes, desserts and cookies with top tier ingredients. Ladret was most recently at Sooke Harbour House, and before that worked as pastry chef at The Bearfood Bistro and the Santa Monica Beach Hotel in Los Angeles. They source ingredients from local producers whenever possible, and incorporate unusual ingredients in their adventurous sweets. Watch for their website to be up in January â€“ www.sugarboybakery.ca. 6991B East Saanich Road. 250 857 6566. With a growing shortage of professionally trained chefs throughout Canada and around the world, Malaspina University-College is expanding its renowned Culinary Arts program. Malaspina currently offers a one-year certificate program, but starting October 2008, a second year of study will be added for students who want a diploma. The introduction of the twoyear diploma program coincides with the official launch of Malaspinaâ€™s new Culinary Institute of Vancouver Island (CIVI), a new umbrella organization that houses all of Malaspinaâ€™s culinary, professional baking and food related apprenticeship training programs. Malaspina boasts a $1.5-million professional teaching kitchen at the Nanaimo campus, where students prepare meals for two busy cafeterias and the Discovery Room Fine Dining restaurant. Malaspina chefs have participated on Team Canada in the Culinary Olympics; represented Canada on Bake Team Canada in Paris March 2008; are integral founding members of the Island Chefs Collaborative; are members of the Island Chapter of the Baking Association of Canada; and hold memberships in the Canadian Culinary Federation. Malaspinaâ€™s kitchens have graduated over 2,000 Culinary Arts students and 300 professional baking students. www.mala.bc.ca Lucianoâ€™s Italian Restaurant and Lounge has been sold to neighbouring Lucky Bar. Dave â€œShoeâ€? Kindrat is now the owner of both spaces.
MENUS The successful â€œInternational Dining Seriesâ€? returns for a second year to Panache at The Westin Bear Mountain Victoria Golf Resort & Spa. The series features eight countries over eight weeks throughout January and February with a four course menu with wine pairings. Last year people made a point of visiting each â€˜countryâ€™. $89 per person (not including taxes or gratuity). www.bearmountain.ca. 250 391 7160. And to liven those blah winter days, Stage Small Plates Wine Bar has started Winey Winter Sundays - a selection of great value wines for $25 and under a bottle on Sunday nights and Mussel Mondays, with a bowl of Cortes Island mussels and a glass of wine for $14.95. 1307 Gladstone Avenue. 250 388 4222.
MOVES Glenn Barlow and Ame DePaole are now open, up and running at his new Oak Bay location. Oak Bay Village VQA wines uprooted and moved to a new, larger location at 2579 Cadboro Bay Road. Current hours are 10am to 9pm daily. Make sure you pop in and congratulate them on this long-awaited move. www.bcwineguys.com Canoe Brewpub has added to its management team as of late. Sean Sloat has returned to Canoe as Assistant GM and Sales and Marketing Manager, after stints at The Sandbar on Granville Island and The Sequoia Grill in Stanley Park. Joining Sean is Geoff Jejna, from the Food and Beverage team at Olympic View Golf Course, and Angel DuPreez, a red seal chef and Caribbean yacht charter caterer. Their annual Winter Brew, the â€˜Winter Gale Strong Aleâ€™, was launched to great acclaim, and will be on tap until the suds run dry. Their next seasonal beer will be a collaboration with local coffee artisan, Shane Devereaux of Habit Coffee, for an inaugural first Espresso Stout. If all goes well, watch for this Stout to run in limited release in local restaurants as well. www.canoebrewpub.com Big changes in place at The Aerie â€“ starting with the top. New General Manager Andrew Trinder was worked worldwide, having served most recently as General Manager of the prestigious Coral Beach & Tennis Club in Bermuda and prior to that at the Waterloo House Hotel and Horizons and Cottages, also in Bermuda. Theyâ€™ve also brought on new Executive Chef Castro Boateng. After graduating from the Culinary Arts program at Humber College in Ontario, Castro worked at fine dining restaurants around the world. His most recent position was as Chef de Cuisine at the Eden Dining Room in Banff. There are also two new accredited sommeliers added to the Aerie team: Warren Walden as Director of Restaurant Operations, and Jen Brock as Cellar Master. www.aerie.bc.ca. Spinnakerâ€™s Brewpub has brought on Andrew Kean as General Manager. Andrew hits the Island from Whistler, where he was F&B manager at the Hilton and General Manager of Blacks Restaurant & Pub. He has also managed the Duke of Westminster and the Duke of Devon in Toronto and was the opening restaurant manager for Virginâ€™s Babylon Roof Garden in London. He has worked with such notables as Chef Gary Rhodes at his Dolphin Square, London restaurant and Terrance Conran at his Bluebird Restaurant as well as his Butlerâ€™s Wharf Chop House. Last year Spinnakers was named BCâ€™s Best Brewpub by the readers of North-West Brewing News. This is the second time in the past three years that they have taken the honour. www.spinnakers.com Lisa Hall has been appointed the new General Manager of The Sidney Pier Hotel & Spa. Hall joined The Sidney Pier Hotel & Spa in January 2007 as Director of Guest Experience, and was responsible for overseeing the Rooms and Food & Beverage operating departments. >
EAT MAGAZINE JAN | FEBRUARY 2008
Hall was previously Director of Rooms at The Fairmont Empress and Owner/Operator of the critically acclaimed Cassis Bistro. She replaces Markus Griesser, who after 3 years of hotel planning, construction and management at the Pier, is moving on to pursue other opportunities and spend more time with his family. The hotel houses bustling street-side Georgia Café & Deli, and coastal inspired Haro’s Waterfront Restaurant. www.sidneypier.com. Chef Denise Jones has joined The Little Piggy Bakeshop as 'Catering Goddess' and is taking charge expanding that department. The popular spot has recently added frozen take home soups and meals, using local and sustainable products, whole grains and scratch cooking. They’ve also begun Menu of the Month – a 3-course special 'take home dinner party' menu. With a minimum 24 hrs notice, they’ll have your supper packed up hot and ready to go for $30 per person. Menus available in-store at 1019 Fort St or online at www.thelittlepiggy.com/bakeshop.com
AWARDS & RECOGNITION & FUNDRAISING
Marc Morrison auctions off a bucket of honey at Brasserie L’Ecole Brasserie l’Ecole held a silent and lively auction in early December to raise funds for Sous Chef Jonny Lee. Jonny was seriously injured in November when his motorcycle was smashed by a stop-sign running truck in a hit-and-run accident. Police are still searching for the suspect. The accident left Jonny in critical condition with multiple internal injuries and broken bones, and kept him in Victoria General Hospital for weeks, with most of his body in casts. He was finally able to come home in mid-December, buoyed by the generous help of his co-workers and friends. The Brasserie auction raised just over $19,000 for Jonny. Co-owner Marc Morrison led the night as an auctioneer, and local Chefs Peter Zambri (Zambri’s) and Jeff Heatherington (Pig BBQ Joint) helped out Chef Sean Brennan in the Brasserie kitchen. Stacey Deering (Manager of the Hillside Liquor Store) and Karyn Stewart (of Mark Anthony Wine and Spirit Merchants) organized the event, calling on their connections and friends in the hospitality industry to obtain numerous auction items. A few popular auctioned items: beer fridges (filled with beer), overnight stays at numerous hotels and bed & breakfasts, snowboards, fishing charters, and week long stays in Mexico and France. 1715 Government Street. 250 475 6260. www.lecole.ca Blue Crab Bar & Grill Restaurant Chef Keith Lefevre will be heading to London in February to compete in La Salon Culinaire Internatonal de Londres at the 2008 Hotelympia. Salon Culinaire is the UK's largest internationally respected cheffing competition, hosting more than 85 competition classes over 5 days. Lefevre started his cooking career at Victoria’s Camosun College and has worked as Executive Chef at numerous places here on the Island, and in Australia. Along the journey Keith has accumulated an impressive list of more than twenty awards and medals in Culinary Competitions through-out Canada, Australia and Europe. www.hotelympia.com. www.bluecrab.ca. —By Treve Ring
Five for Five at Hernandez in St. Andrew’s Square
Within a small downtown radius bounded by Douglas, View, Yates and Blanshard resto competition for the lunch crowd is fierce. Workadays can choose from any number of eateries offering big bites for under a tenner. Few are better than Hernandez which bustles during the lunch hour. Five ‘reminds me of Mexico’ tacos - chicken, pork or bean - in homemade corn tortillas with fresh chilli sauce and cilantro are served within minutes for a single sawbuck. Now that’s what I call slow food—fast.
www.eatmagazine.ca JAN | FEBRUARY 2008
The EATBUZZ. café
| Up Island | TOMATO TOMATO [1760 Riverside Lane, Courtenay (250) 338-5406] is making sweeping changes to the dinner and lunch offerings. New features include contemporary twists on classic dishes like the Slow Roasted Duck with pomegranate glaze, caramelized shallots and butternut squash or the Signature Caesar with crispy pancetta, shaved parmesan and focaccia croutons in a roasted garlic white balsamic vinaigrette. Go to www.tomatotomato.ca for a look at the new menus. Starting in January the Silverado Steakhouse Crown Isle Resort [399 Clubhouse Drive, Courtenay 250-703-5050] is offering $29-for-29-days “fresh sheet” three course dinners. Zizi Café [441B Cliffe Avenue 250.334.1661] home of authentic Moroccan and Middle Eastern cuisine in downtown Courtenay, has expanded. They are now offering catering services too. The team at the Atlas Café [250-6th Street, Courtenay 250.338.9838] will be taking annual holidays January 22 but they’re back to work on February 7. Atlas continues to be a favourite apres ski (apres work, apres pretty much anything) stop as it offers some of the most consistenly good food and
service in the region. Winter warmers? Tequila Salmon Seafood Linguine with house smoked wild salmon, tiger prawns, sea scallops and fresh asparagus in tequila lime chipotle cream is a sure cold weather cure. Or try some local Hornby Island Mead [www.middlemountainmead.com]: they're serving it warm this season. In Comox, Atlas sister-ship Avenue Bistro [2064 comox avenue (250) 890-9200] is open from 11am until 10:30pm. Check out the Pork Loin Roulade or the Pink Flamingo Martini. Keep an eye for a weekend brunch menu appearing in the New Year. Avenue is currently still closed on Mondays. Thyme on the Ocean [1832 Comox Ave, Comox (250) 339-5570] now offers an always-changing (based on locally available fresh produce, fish, and meat) five course antipasto style menu Tuesday to Thursday. Plates are $7 each or $30 for the whole menu. Up the road in Cumberland, The Great Escape [2744 Dunsmuir Street, www.greatescape-cumberland.com, 250336-8831] will be closed the first two weeks in January... but watch out for the return of their sell-out street food nights in late January. New winter menu items: Grilled
Thyme on the Ocean 1832 Comox Avenue | Comox | 250.399.5570
EAT MAGAZINE JAN | FEBRUARY 2008
Hans Peter Meyer
In mid-July 2007 Emil Shelborn and his partner (in life and in the kitchen) Nah Yoon Kim opened the doors to Thyme on the Ocean inComox. With their attention to detail they are setting a new standard for fine dining in the area. Thyme on the Ocean doesn't trumpet its strengths to the street. Once in the doors the little things start to impress. A botanical theme start emerges: images on the walls, earthtones, a calming atmosphere. The butter arrived with a small sprig of rosemary. The menu isn't overwhelming: with it's focus is on the seasonally appropriate and locally available from pruduce to meat to fish it has, "just the right things," as my friend put it. "Chef Emil likes to send out little taste surprises," our server told us, presenting us with a slice of Asian pear and arugula wrapped in prosciutto. Perfect with our glass of Summerhill Cipes Pinot Noir Brut. The bubbly went on to be good company for our appetizers: a plate of grilled seafood (fresh off the boat) and a bocconcini salad. The smokey flavours of the prawns and shrimp married well with the orange-citrus mayonaise. The salad featured a delightfully mild water buffalo mozzarella made locally by Natural Pastures. Our table was graced with the aroma of fresh basil as my guest was presented with her main course, a beautiful plate of Dunguness crab ravioli with a sidebar of arugula. The subtle weaving of flavours in the crab and spinach stuffing had her singing the chef's praises for his attention to the quality and the combination of ingredients. "Mouthwatering ...ambrosia in the mouth … The pasta so fresh, so tender...," she swooned. Chef Emil made several recommendations
Nah Yoon Kim and Emil Shelborn with a sampling of fresh local clams, matsutake (pine) mushrooms, mixed greens, and tomatoes. for wine pairings. My guest had a glass of Venturi Schultz Millefiori (2006)—smelling like a summers day, a little sparkle on the tongue and round, strawberry flavours in the mouth. Of the two wines he suggested for my meal, I particularly liked the Chalet Estate Cabernet Merlot (2004)—a full, structured wine that was also soft and plummy. Always looking for that flavourful (rather than tender) chunk of beef I was pleased to see grilled flank steak on the menu. This was a plateful of flavours: sliced thin, done rare, layered with thick slices of dense wild matsutake (pine) mushrooms, oven roasted tomatoes, and water buffalo mozzarella there was a lot to consider. The pleasant surprise—it was tender too. A glass of Saturna 2006 Pinot Gris capped the evening. Slightly fruity, with soft apricot tones it was an easy way to finish the meal - and a fitting libation to go with our desert, a moist, creamy-textured angel food cake with roasted plums, drizzled with a slightly tart raspberry coulis. Cost of our meal, including all beverages but not gratuities, was approximately $145. —Hans Peter Meyer
Lamb Kebabs in Tomato-Tamarind Curry (lamb from Black Creek’s Glen Alwin Farm [www.glenalwinfarm.net]). North of the Oyster it’s a round of congratulations to Michelle Yasinski! Her specialty food store and café, Cheddar & Co. [1090A Shoppers Row (250) 830-0244], opened to a warm and receptive community in Campbell River this past fall. And... to the south, Lela Perkins of Kiki Spice [266 Alberni Hwy, Coombs (250) 9275454 / firstname.lastname@example.org] has recently launched Friday evening Ethic Dinners. Set menu with two seatings 5:30 & 7:30. Reservations only. To view up & coming menus go to www.kikispice.com. I recently enjoyed (thoroughly) Lela’s food at a catered corporate Christmas Party. I’ll be checking out the Friday night feasts for sure, if only to find out what she means when she says she uses the “folk art approach to food.” Hmmm? —By Hans Peter Meyer
VOTE D TOP SC H O O L IN A R EC ENT BC C U LINA RY A R TS CO M P E T I T I O N
Arts With an international reputation for excellence, Malaspina’s Culinary Arts program provides you with the skills to succeed. The program, taught by dedicated faculty with extensive professional experience, is offered as a one year certificate and two year diploma.
Malaspina University-College 900 Fifth Street, Nanaimo, British Columbia Visit www.mala.ca/culinary or call 250.740.6289 to learn more.
NOW is the time to apply for our January and August intake.
www.eatmagazine.ca JAN | FEBRUARY 2008
The EATBUZZ. café
Trilogy Garden Café is open for all day breakfast, and lunch from 8.00am – 3.30pm. With a focus on seafood, you’ll find those delicious fresh crab sandwiches on the menu, as well as seafood chowders, steamed mussels, French fries and more, all set amidst the beautiful Tofino Botanical Gardens. Trilogy Garden Café is also open for catering, both on site and off site, with a great box lunch menu for your Tofino day trips. 1084 Pacific Rim Highway 250 725 2247 www.trilogyfish.net SoBo’s move to downtown Tofino has been a success with dinners available three nights a week (Fri – Sun), and lunch daily lunch menu continues to satisfy both out of town guests and local Tofino-ites. Closed for some family time from January 07 – February 12, SoBo will reopen just in time for Valentine’s Day. 311 Neill Street 250 725 4265 www.sobo.ca Chocolate Tofino owners Gord and Leah Austin are headed south to Costa Rica for three months to learn Spanish, volunteer on permaculture farms and seek out cocoa farms in efforts source out organic, free trade cocoa that will be used in their chocolates. The shop will remain open during winter season. 1180 Pacific Rim Highway 250 725 2526 www.chocolatetofino.com While The Schooner Restaurant (downstairs) has closed its door for the winter season, it is available for private functions and of course Upstairs @ the Schooner remains open for great breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as casual cocktails with breathtaking views of Meares Island and the Clayoquot Sound. (The Schooner (downstairs) will re-open for its regular service in early March.) Upstairs will be hosting Robbie Burns Night, Sunday January 27, with the piping of the haggis, highland dancers and of course the toasts to the ladies and lassies. This is a fund raiser for the Port Alberni Highland dancers. Upstairs continues to host Industry Night with free appies every Wednesday, along with special events every Monday and Thursday. 331 Campbell Street 250 725 3664 www.schoonerrestaurant.com
Oysterfest Mermaid: Jacqueline Windh, guests Leah & Bruce McDiarmid
Photos by Kevin Drews
The 11th Annual Oyster Festival was a great success. The sold out gala featured oysters prepared many creative ways and SoBo took the People’s Choice Award while Shelter Restaurant (now open for lunch) received the Juried Prize Award and Trilogy Garden Café won Best Presentation Award. The Oyster Pit featured The Outlandish Shellfish Guild with fresh shucked oysters alongside Clayoquot Oyster Growers with fresh oysters on the BBQ. www.oystergala.com Another event worth mentioning was the Long Beach Lodge’s Two Chefs and a Pearl of an Oyster dinner with guest winemaker’s from Venturi Schultz, the lodge’s chef Jeffery Young and guest chef Timothy May. A 7 course dinner showcased amazing dishes creatively incorporating oysters in each course, including a dessert of panna cotta served in an oyster shell with coconut pearls and candied oyster brittle. Combined with passionate storytelling of the labour and love of wine making, this sold out event featured oysters at its best! (Look forward to finding expansions to the Long Beach Lodge Resort’s renowned Great Room after renovations in December. The room will be expanded into the dining room to give it a more seamless feel, as guests love the warmth of the great room.) 1441 Pacific Rim Highway 250 725 2442 www.longbeachlodgeresort.com —By Kira Rogers
The shuckers after a long night.
EAT MAGAZINE JAN | FEBRUARY 2008
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www.eatmagazine.ca JAN | FEBRUARY 2008
The EATBUZZ. café
|WOkanagan| KICK IT...
For reservations call 250.995.4688
Industry Night - Monday nights in the Empress Dining Room. We are extending our employee discount to our industry counterparts (50% discount on food), and great value on special wines. Reservations recommended. Proof of industry employment required.
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Hot Chocolate for Grown Ups.
ith the Okanagan’s urban flow continuing at its record pace in 2008, so too are the exciting services and products arriving appease our new culture of urbanites. Shops like the Okanagan Grocery Artisan Breads in Guishican Village continue to grow their product list to satisfy the lifestyles of our evolving society. They are currently carrying a new line of restaurant quality frozen ready to eat products from Quince in Vancouver. Busy gourmands can pop into the shop, pick up fresh bread, brilliant local cheeses from Poplar Grove or Carmelis along with other treats, as well as a package or two of Duck Confit, Lamb Shanks, Butternut Squash ravioli to take home and thaw out for a high end dinner at home. 2355 Gordon Drive, Kelowna, 250-862-2811 www.okanagangrocery.com
Other businesses have opened to cater the busy working families or to the “too busy to cook but want good, healthy food” people. Smart Start Meals caters to exactly these crowds by not only preparing the food – but also delivering their gourmet ready-to-cook dinner packages right to your door. With a diverse menu to choose with dishes ranging from ginger beef, lemon curry roast chicken, chili, lasagna or cider braised pork chops – once they drop it off, all you have to do is either pop it in the oven, crock pot or finish up the last minute details stove top. As working parents themselves, owners Ken and Suzanne Scott devised this food service business with a vision of helping people and families enjoy more quality time together by eliminating the time lost through menu planning, shopping and cooking. A fabulous idea for all of you weekend skiers – you can now order meals up to your chalet! Those vacationing up at Big White can get their orders in the following ways: a) have your order delivered at home prior to leaving for the hill (just like our regular service) or b) have it delivered directly to your chalet or condo, for an additional $25 charge! Their winter menu is geared towards comfort foods, with many crockpot or "one-dish" type dinners to choose from. Smart Start Meals 250-869-7678 or order online at www.smartstartmeals.ca Nick n’ Willy’s is another great choice for those health conscious pizza lovers out there. Fast becoming the local favorite pizza joint, Nick n’ Willy’s have built their business on using fresh, healthy ingredients. Using “small batch” pizza dough, made fresh each morning with 100% pure olive oil that is cut, kneaded and tossed by hand, fresh toppings and a “trans fat free” policy, you can choose from their fabulous list of pizza toppings or build your own. Have them bake it for you or take it ready to bake at home, all of the ingredients are absolutely fresh – they even dry their own basil! Perfect to pick up on your way up to the ski hill – there are two locations to choose from. Located behind Montana’s at 1500 Banks (868-3148) or at 3818 on Gordon at Cook (868-2888) www.nicknwillys.com Alladin and Ruby Murji, the former owners of the popular Island of Zanzibar restaurant in Kelowna have partnered with Allan and Christine Surtees to open Carvers Restaurant located in The Inn at Big White. This exciting addition to Big White’s booming infrastructure, will offer both North American and Indian cuisine. The team inside the kitchen of Carvers includes two Red Seal qualified Chefs that are trained in Indian cuisine along with Murji’s son, Sayyad who is also a Chef. Doesn’t a bowl of spicy curry sound perfect after a day in the snow? They will be open seven days a week. Call 250-491-2009 Agostino Masi, chef and owner of Agostino’s Italian Cuisine and Wine Bar in downtown Kelowna has embarked on a new venture to ring in the New Year with. He has taken over the restaurant at the Shannon Lake Golf Club on the Westside, christening it: Agostino’s at Shannon Lake. Planned for take off January 1, 2008 he will be introducing a new diverse menu with a nod towards fine dining. Perfect for a golf course venue, Agostino’s at Shannon Lake will also cater special events including weddings and private parties, and will also be offering a fabulous Sunday brunch feature! 250- 979-1555. In keeping with our Okanagan’s food and wine themed culture, The Rotten Grape wine and tapas bar on Bernard Avenue is definitely one of our hottest new urban hangouts! With a fabulous menu loaded with seasonally inspired, organic, Oceanwise™ small plates – including gourmet thin crust pizzas, west coast mussels, grilled duck and cranberry sausages or a local artisan cheese plate, customers can enjoy advice on the perfect wine pairing choice as well. I also love the “First Bites” menu selections such as the Mediterranean Olives or Roasted Paprika Almonds (both $3) to nibble on whilst sipping your vino. The wine list is fabulous with 200 labels to choose from including hard to find local favorites, all served in your choice of glass, bottle or flight. Open from 5:00 pm daily (closed Monday and Tuesday), they have live music on Thursdays and a rooftop deck for warm weather. www.therottengrape.com To make reservations phone: 250-717-8466 Café Soleil at 553 Bernard Avenue has morphed from a breakfast and lunch nook into a dinner venue as well. Now open for dinner on Thursdays and Fridays from 5:30-8:30 p.m., this funky eatery will be another welcome addition to the downtown Kelowna dining choices. 250861-5528.
1210 broad street, victoria 250.388.9906
EAT MAGAZINE JAN | FEBRUARY 2008
Kelowna’s popular ethnic food Mecca, The Oriental Supermarket has finally reopened its doors in a brand spanking, huge new venue. Located off the highway, beside Office Depot, this fabulous grocery store is a lifeline for all international cooks in the city. Offering a wide range of retail and wholesale products from China, Japan, Mexico, Thailand and more, with products ranging from fresh produce to frozen ingredients, spices, rices, sushi, and dishware – you name it – they got it! Phone: 250-762-2395 —By Jennifer Schell-Pigott
Steaming Barbecued Pork and Vegetable Noodle Bowl
Impeccable service. Outstanding cuisine. A casual sophisticated atmosphere.
Chinese-style comfort food; this warming dish goes great with tea or beer.
Owner Jennifer Bowles
Chef Corey Korenicki
Preparation time: 20 minutes • Cooking time: About 10 minutes • Makes: 4 servings Ingredients 1 (12 oz.) piece of Chinese-style barbecue pork (see Note) 6 cups chicken stock 1 Tbsp chopped fresh ginger 1-2 garlic cloves, crushed 1/3-1/2 cup, each, thinly sliced red bell pepper and carrot 9 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and quartered 2 baby bok choy, wash and coarsely chopped 1 (14 oz.) can cut baby corn 1 (12-16 oz.) pkg. fresh Chinese-style egg noodles Chopped green onions or cilantro to taste Asian-style hot chili sauce and soy sauce for drizzling
2583 Cadboro Bay Rd., Victoria
Machines N’ Beans Espresso Coffee is our passion…
Method Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Put on a large pot of water to boil to cook the noodles. Meanwhile, place the pork in a parchment paper-lined baking dish and warm in the oven 10 minutes. Place the stock, ginger, garlic, red pepper, carrot and mushrooms in another pot; bring to a gentle simmer, and simmer 5 minutes. Add the bok choy and corn and turn the heat to low. Boil the noodles until tender, about 45-60 seconds. Drain the noodles and then divide among 4 large soup bowls. Divide and ladle the chicken stock/vegetable mixture over the noodles. Slice the pork and divide and set on top of the noodle bowls. Serve immediately with chopped green onions or cilantro, and chili sauce and soy sauce, for sprinkling and drizzling on top. Note: Chinese-style barbecued pork can be purchased in Victoria’s and Vancouver’s Chinatown; ask for it unsliced. You could also make your own barbecued pork by purchasing Chinese-style barbecue sauce at an Asian market and using it to marinate and flavour thick strips of roasted pork shoulder roast.
Perfection lies in the details
COMMON PURPOSE The Montreal smoked meat sandwich at Yaletown's PHAT (Pretty Hot And Tasty).
Deli owner William Kaminski has 120 briskets shipped in from Montreal fresh every 2 weeks (in vacuum packed bags) and they season the meat with a blend imported specially from the famous Schwartz's deli on Boulevard Saint Laurent. Diners are given many options to dress up their sandwiches, but this is mine: fresh croissant, hot mustard, garlic mayo, Swiss cheese, and a mountain of the steaming smoked meat. All in, it's a bargain at $7.99 (with slaw and a kosher pickle) and probably the most satisfying sandwich I've ever known.
Customers come to indulge their sense of taste, as well as their sight and touch, as these are what turn a shortbreak into a daily treat, and make the coffee bar an elegant but familiar place. illycaffe` and baristas both pay great attention to detail and to the whole experience of drinking coffee. Exclusively distributed by Machines N’ Beans Inc. 5-625 Hillside Avenue Tel:250-744-5432 Fax: 250-744-3616 http://www.machinesnbeans.com
. . . perfettamentespressi
www.eatmagazine.ca JAN | FEBRUARY 2008
n i t o a T L a k o v e e
By Andrew Morrison Photo by Tracey Kusiewicz
in Va uver nco
hen I was entering my adolescence in Victoria I started working at a popular deli in Fairfield. My co-workers included a mother and son recently arrived from the civil war in El Salvador. I washed dishes, she handled prep and he took deliveries around the city. I was fascinated by the fact that we had cultural differences but admittedly not all that curious about what they actually were. When Iâ€™d come home from work to find my own family watching Hockey Night in Canada and eating burritos filled with seasoned hamburger meat anointed with sour cream and shredded cheddar, I assumed my Latin compadres were doing the exact same thing, except with soccer on the TV.
EAT MAGAZINE JAN | FEBRUARY 2008
I thought all Latin Americans from Patagonia to Havana ate the same kinds of foods by virtue of their very “Latinness.” If I wanted to indulge in it, I needed only to visit Market Square’s old Café Mexico, the very pinnacle of authenticity as far as I knew. I was just 13 at the time, and my James Bay neighbourhood hadn’t exactly been a window on the world. The revelation that liquid-cheese-lathered nachos weren’t a staple in Caracas—let alone Mexico City or La Paz—was more than simply confusing. It was seditious to my worldview. Later, and for many years, I went out with an Argentinian girl whose mother, a beautiful Quechuan speaker from the northwest of the country, was saintly in the face of the fact that I studiously avoided eating her food. Even her sweet dulce de leche and wobbly flan desserts were beyond me, too foreign for my mac-and-cheese palate to compute. The old family recipes in her deep repertoire were not at all what I associated with what I assumed was her milieu (where, pray tell, were the enchiladas, the hard-shelled tacos, the seven layer dips?). She did, however, make extraordinarily good empanadas. These were diminutive half-moons filled with chicken, cumin, egg and potato—the ultimate grab-and-go snack from the Spanish verb empanar (to wrap in bread). I suspected they were little folded testaments of resistance to the bland tastes of her daughter’s witless gringo boyfriend, but I loved them dearly. They were obviously made with care and were remarkably consistent, so much so that when the relationship ended and I needed my empanada fix, I was invariably disappointed by what I found out in the
Of the eighteen dining options that made it into the “Americas” section of Vancouver Magazine’s 2008 Eating & Drinking Guide, more than half were Mexican, and few of these take serious stabs at authenticity, save for hole-inthe-wall taco shacks like Doña Cata way out on the east side. Unique gems like the kitschy, cantina-themed Me & Julio and its sister restaurant Lolita’s strike a hip balance, taking sweeping liberties with traditional Mexican ingredients to give us entertaining food with a happening scene to boot. Without a doubt, however, they’re rare and personality-driven anomalies, perfect storms that reveal by way of line-ups out the door that a deep enough desire for something different exists within our west coast bellies. Only two of those eighteen restaurants exhibit something akin to a national culinary ethos: Samba Brazilian Steakhouse, a carnivorous fantasy land where knife-wielding waiters (“passadores”) slice myriad meats at the table; and Rinconcito, a charming little Salvadoran place, a real Ma and Popper that specializes in pupusas (stuffed tortillas that come in almost as many guises as the empanada). In the end, if you’ve been holding out for a choice Paraguayan joint to open up on Robson anytime soon, I’m afraid that ship may have already sailed. Our American friends, with their 42 million inhabitants of Latin American ancestry, have always fared much better in this regard. Evolving in the early 1990s, a new cooking style busily midwifed dozens of new restaurants across the U.S., all feeding the growing American affection for Latin flavours and methods. There was also a fair fashionista quotient giving it all the fuel it needed to take off. And they could give a
with the flavours and traditions of South America with tasty results. By playing ingredients like fried cassava and yams against plantain-encrusted halibut sauced with tangy tamarind, rum and soy, they remind us that there’s too much joy in cooking for something so trivial as geography to be allowed into the kitchen. But that’s only the tip of their tomfoolery. Just when you think the menu goes too far off the plausibility reservation (coconut seared tuna, strawberries and a dreamy mojo of mango, ginger and lime; or seared scallops plated with potato jalapeño pavé and a thoroughly moppable sauce of sweet corn and saffron), it returns with a stately Peruvian causa, a little tower of potato layered with fresh Dungeness crab, the bright sting of mango and chunks of ripe avocado. With the cuisines of 27 different countries to play with and no one around to tell you that you’ve got it all wrong, Latin amalgams can be a lot of fun, especially when the plates hover between $4 and $20. Baru Latino certainly proves it at first bite. But that was almost seven years ago. What have you done for me lately, Nuevo Latino? Restaurateurs Sean Sherwood and Michael Mitton took the concept for a spin on Richards St., launching Century restaurant in the winter of 2006. They may have called the concept “Modern Latin Cowboy,” but it was still Nuevo Latino to a T. Housed in an old bank building with soaring, gold-leaf ceilings, priceless marble floors, walls a thousand shades of tobacco, and brown saddle leather couches that caressed with the softness of history, Century was the most beautiful restaurant I’ve ever had the pleasure to be totally
Hot stuff: pan-Latin plates, like this 7 oz. flat-iron steak with chimichurri-washed pavé of beet, potato and jalapeno, shine at Alma's Baru Latino. restaurant ether. None of them could get it right. I didn’t know it then, but the empanada was about as open-ended a culinary endeavour as the sandwich, with every Latin American country tabling versions of its own. The Bolivians, for example, do a fried type stuffed with cheese and sprinkled with icing sugar, whereas the Peruvians favour ground beef with a squeeze of lime on top. The Venezuelans, presumably just to be contrary, fill theirs with oysters and clams, while the Uruguayans somehow get away with chocolate, quince, and dulce de leche smeared with apple sauce. Not that we’d ever know. I may have grown up now, but there’s been one constant that remains true to this day: Latin cuisines have never made much of a whimper in B.C., let alone an impact, save for the gaudy Mexi-beasts with their neon Corona signs, canned mariachi music and margaritas sold by the pitcher. As a consequence, the local learning curve on the variety of the ingredients involved and their preparations has been glacial. We North Americans tend to eschew such provincial differences in favour of homogeneous constructs. We press for lowest common denominators and preach assimilation over fealty to tradition. Across the continent, we’ve mostly squeezed the regional differences out of Indian, Italian and French cuisines. “Give us your butter chicken, your lasagna, your coq au vin,” the Canadian Statue of Liberty might say, chilled bottle of Molson held aloft. But just as Hunanese is different from Szechuanese, Tuscan is alien from Sicilian, and Norman plays in a different league from Provençal, we can assume with confidence that the foods of Nicaragua and Ecuador will have a few points of divergence. Here in B.C., unfortunately, we’ve never had enough of a population of either to give such culinary specificity any grip. Our little corner of the world hasn’t been a very popular destination for Latin American immigrants. It’s wet, cold, prohibitively expensive and few of us speak Spanish (1 percent of British Columbians are Latin American). Nationally, our shortcomings are writ large. According to Statistics Canada, 85 percent of all Latin American arrivals between 1996 and 2001 settled in Quebec and Ontario, with fewer than 6 percent of them staying in B.C. It should come as no surprise, then, that we can boast very few local restaurants that are even partly suggestive of the possibilities.
damn about what specific cuisine was in the offing. In our continental collective psyche, Latin food is sexy and exciting, and that’s that. The pioneering of Floridian celebrity chefs such as Douglas Rodriguez (now of Philadelphia’s modern Cuban restaurant, Alma de Cuba) and Norman Van Aken (of Norman’s in Orlando) inspired a new generation of cooks to broaden the trend’s diaspora. Out they went, like bees dusted with spiced pollen, to propagate the word. And what a word! In his 1997 book of 160 recipes, New World Cuisine, Van Aken opened us up to the possibilities he was offering. “If a map of the world were a tablecloth,” he wrote, “and I could choose a place at that table, I would sit at the southern tip of Florida, at the nexus of North America and the Caribbean. My plate would touch Cuba, the Florida Keys, the Yucatán, the West Indies, the Bahamas, and South America.” My seat at the table used to be Naples, but now I’m not so sure. Born on the expensive end of Miami with a captive audience to lap it up (65 percent of Miamians are Hispanic), the new pan-Latin cuisine was given wings by style, money, talent and imagination (the four horsemen of any tradition’s apocalypse). Their supranational menus traversed borders with ease, borrowing ideas, appropriating ingredients and cherry-picking themes—proof that credulity is suspended in the face of things that taste good, and that anything is saleable from the lofty heights of haute. In its infancy, the new style went by several names: “New World,” “New Caribbean,” “New Floribbean,” to name just a few. It’s now most commonly referred to as “Nuevo Latino,” and when done properly, it’s like eating a Ferrari. We should be glad it’s now finding adherents here in the Vancouver. We aren’t hamstrung by tradition (I don’t think the 6 percent will mind), and nor do we easily surrender exciting food ideas to the high end. If we have anything going for us as a food city, it’s that we love being a culinary Petri dish, a place where every experiment has a shot at our dollars, provided they can afford them. To start us off back in 2001, Baru Latino collected quiet acclaim, way out on the west side (10th and Alma being the most illogical location possible). Launched by a group of young Colombian professionals (two architects and an anthropologist), “Baru” continues to fiddle fantastically
disappointed by, and a wonderful place for a long, slow drink (if you were deaf ). The talented, arrogant and scandalously young chef with a superbly cheffish name—Remi DuBois, 26—created a menu that read like Pablo Neruda’s most seductive poetry but tasted like the dull juvenilia of someone allergic to seasoning (as to how anyone could make plantain fritters and cinnamon-maple-braised kurabuto pork belly border on not-very-good is more a shame than a mystery). It was a shocking flop with the foodie set, and after an opening glint of genuine possibility, it was violently shunted off the must-try track by restaurants with a third of the potential. Sherwood left the company a year later and it has since been relegated—though still open and serving a club-going crowd—to Vancouver’s lengthy annals of oops. Hasta la too bad. As noted in this issue’s Restaurant Reporter section, the Nuevo Latino candle is now aflame again, only this time it’s in Gastown at a new fixture called Cobre (see page 19 for my review). Even when the restaurant’s co-owner and chef Stuart Irving was still slinging his spicy Kung Po with “twicecooked peanuts” at Wild Rice, he was already fascinated by the Nuevo Latino concept. When he travelled to Miami to experience the new style, he was hooked. He swallowed the books of Rodriguez and Van Aken but admits it was a tougher cuisine to research than Chinese. Locally, “there wasn’t a lot to go on,” he told me over the phone when I reached him at his new restaurant. “I’d go to Barbara-Jo’s [bookstore] and there’d be whole shelves on Asian cuisine, but the Americas section would be a tiny little corner with maybe 12 books and that was it.” The end result is a highly personalized and locally focused interpretation of the entire sweep of South and Central America, with a healthy dose of Cuba thrown in for good measure. “We’re doing our own thing,” Irving says, “and it’s very liberating.” Perhaps it’s the unwillingness of some of its chefs to ally their cooking with convention that makes Nuevo Latino so compelling, but it’s liberating for us diners, too. When Irving tried to explain why he enjoyed the challenge of starting over with a new cuisine, he said “I couldn’t go to an Italian restaurant and make a tomato bocconcini salad. I’d lose my f---ing mind.” It’s a contagious protest. Let’s hope it catches on.
www.eatmagazine.ca JAN | FEBRUARY 2008
Single Origin Chocolate By Gary Hynes
he history of chocolate is one of tears. Millions of people have been enslaved and died while producing cocoa—which is transformed into chocolate for the world’s privileged. Whole cultures in the Americas were wiped out by Spanish, British, Dutch and French colonists. By the mid-1800s, cocoa trees had been depleted in the Caribbean and Spanish Americas, destroyed by over production and poor management. Production of cocoa then moved to Africa and Indonesia where the devastation continued. Companies like Fry’s, van Houten, Rowntree, Hershey's, Mars, Cadbury, Cargill and Archer Daniel Midlands made fortunes. Commercial chocolate bar production is still based on exploitation, cheap labour and non-sustainable agricultural practices. But there are new players. Pushed by the need of consumers to know where their food comes from, a strengthening worldwide organic movement, new fair trade practices and foodies looking for a premium chocolate experience, companies are being forced to change their business practices. In the early 1990s, Craig Sams, owner of a British company called Green & Black’s, started growing premium cocoa in the Toledo district of Belize. Sams had discovered that the Mayan farmers of the area were growing cocoa using old methods—without pesticides or fertilizers—which was consistent with Sams’ growing organic business. In Togo, with the help of the French government, Green & Black’s began producing chocolate to the rigorous British Soil Association organic standards and in 1991 Green & Black’s organic 75% cocoa chocolate bars were rolling off the assemble line. Back in Belize Sams began to produce his signature bar called Maya Gold, which carried the additional declaration of being a Fair Trade product. Ethical luxury was born. * * Information is from Bitter Chocolate by Carol Off. ~
I met Yves Farges of Far-Met Importers at Pierre and Bev Koffel’s venerable Deep Cove Chalet on Vancouver Island early one warm afternoon. Mr. Farges imports Michel Cluizel chocolate—both in bars (sold retail) and bulk (for restaurants). We spent a long and leisurely lunch discussing premium chocolate and the growing trend of producing single origin chocolate. Farges explained that chocolate —much like wine—has terroir and that different nuances could be detected from region to region, and from plantation to plantation. And similarly to fine wine, single origin chocolate can be “nosed”, savoured and paired to fine wines and liquors for an extraordinary epicurean experience. I learned that single origin cocoa is cacao beans grown in one particular area or region. Grand Cru cacao is a marketing term referring to single origin chocolate. And that Premier Cru/Estate Grown is also a marketing term. What Michel Cluizel calls 1er [Premier] Cru chocolate is that the beans come from specific plantations After lunch, cognacs were poured and our tasting began. Fargues explained how to taste fine chocolate. Look at the appearance of the chocolate. This indicates how long it may have been on the shelf, whether it was made properly or if has undergone temperature fluctuations. Look for an even glossy appearance and the absence of “bloom” or discolouration. “Break off a piece,” says Fargues, “and listen to its “snap”. Professionals gauge the quality of chocolate by its “snap”: the clear, crisp sound made by breaking a piece of chocolate from a bar. A good, clean snap is indicative of high cocoa content and well-tempered chocolate: the higher the cocoa content, the harder the chocolate and the more pronounced the snap. Now bring a piece of chocolate up to your nose and take short sniffs. Chocolate aroma varies and it is one the joys of good quality chocolate. Like wine, the vocabulary for describing chocolate refers often to fruits (berry, citrus, dried, tree, tropical), nuts, wood, flora, spices, herbs and so forth. Next comes mouthfeel. Put a piece of chocolate in your mouth on your tongue and let it melt. A good chocolate won’t need to be chewed. Examine its texture. Is it smooth, grainy or gritty? A waxy chocolate indicates that it contains cheap vegetable fat. Finally, consider the chocolate’s taste. Different tastes will reveal themselves at the mid-palate, and in the aftertaste (what is referred to in wine terms as the finish). Tastes often parallel aromas with the terroir being influenced by regional characteristics. For example Madagascan cocoa is often vibrant with a crisp citrus acidity with spice, cedar, and other woody notes appearing. Overall, the cocoa is light on the palate and contains no bitterness. After taking in my instructions we are ready to taste. We sample a full-bodied chocolate from the Los Anconès plantation in the Dominican Republic. This plantation has been growing cocoa since 1903. It has an earthy aroma with hints of olives, licorice and red berries and a sweet finish. We also try the Villa Graciuda 67% Sao Tome. Sao Tome is a tiny island off the coast of central Africa. We note its grassy and volcanic aromas and the long, lingering finish. From Africa we move on to South America and to a small plantation in the valley of Barlovento in Venezuela and to completely different flavours. This is a lush chocolate with vanilla, honey spice cake and caramel. In the finish I can detect a mixture of dried and black fruits. All three chocolates are superb and highlight the remarkable differences that can be found when chocolate is made with skill and care and the cocoa comes from a single origin. >
EAT MAGAZINE JAN | FEBRUARY 2008
Outrageous Cherry Brownies with Spiced Chocolate Caramel Sauce + Dark Chocolate Ice Cream Cathryn and David of Feys + Hobbs Catered Arts in Victoria have created this special dessert that celebrates three Premier Cru Single Plantation chocolates by Michel Cluizel. Totally for the choco-holics in this world!
Ingredients For the Brownies: 90 grams 90 grams 40 grams 225 grams 15 grams 15 grams 60 grams 1/2 tsp 30 grams 180 grams 2 large
unsalted butter golden sugar granulated sugar 65% Mangaro Noir Madagascar chocolate 99% Noir Lufini candied ginger, chopped coarsely dried sour cherries, chopped coarsely pure vanilla extract cornstarch all purpose flour free run eggs Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350F (conventional oven). Line a 6”x6” sized pan with parchment paper and non-stick spray. Place butter and sugars in a small sauce pot. Set over medium heat, stir while it melts to a smooth mixture. Add the chocolates, off the heat, and stir until smooth. Cool slightly. Stir in eggs, salt and vanilla. Fold in the flour and cornstarch and finally the dried ginger and cherries. Pour batter into prepared cake tin, bake for 10 minutes turn pan and bake another 5 minutes until just set. Can be made the day ahead, portion into 4 or 6 squares, warm lightly before serving for ultra decadence. For the Chocolate Sauce: 150 100 1 tsp 60 grams 1 tsp 1 tbs 1/4 tsp
grams granulated sugar grams whipping cream unsalted butter Los Aucones 67% Santo Domingo chocolate pure vanilla extract Bourbon or rye whiskey fresh grated nutmeg Orange zest
Sprinkle sugar in an even layer in the bottom of a medium sized, heavy bottomed saucepan. Place over medium high heat and allow to melt slowly. As it melts, shake the pan and allow it to colour to a deep caramel. Remove from the heat and add the whipping cream and the butter (careful of the steam), and whisk until smooth. Cool slightly. Add the chocolate and stir to melt. Add the vanilla, bourbon and the nutmeg and 4 rasps of orange zest. Cool to room temperature, covered. Soften in the microwave if it sets before drizzling on brownie. For the Ice Cream: 250 ml 250 ml 1/2 cup 4 large 1 tsp 2 tsp 300 grams
whipping cream homo milk granulated sugar free run egg yolks pure vanilla extract strong brewed coffee Villa Graciuda 67% Sao Tome chocolate
Place a small sauce pan filled with water on high heat, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium high. Combine the milk and cream in a small sauce pan, scald over medium high heat, set aside. Whisk the egg yolks and the sugar together in a medium stainless steel bowl. Set over the steaming water and continue to whisk until very thick, lemony yellow in colour, there are no sugar granules left and it just begins to give off steam. Remove from the heat. Pour in the hot cream, whisk to combine well, add the chocolate, whisk well to smooth. Chill overnight and freeze according to the directions of your ice cream maker.
VALENTINEâ€™S DAY SUGGESTION
OUR SOMMELIER SUGGESTS
bliss Banyuls This unusual, sweet and strong fortified red wine from the Pyrenees region of Southwestern France, made from the Grenache grape, is credibly presented as one of the few wines that goes naturally with chocolate. It's a very dark ruby color, almost black, with good aromas of cherry-berry, raisins and "stone" fruit; sweet, strong and tart on the palate, with raspberry jam increasingly evident in a long finish.
Los Aucones 67% Santo Domingo chocolate
Villa Graciuda 67% Sao Tome chocolate
Mangaro Noir Madagascar chocolate Rebecca Wellman
Outrageous Cherry Brownies with Spiced Chocolate Caramel Sauce + Dark Chocolate Ice Cream
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The beginning and the root of all good is the pleasure of the stomach; even wisdom and culture must be referred to this. — Epicurus
specialty foods organic · fair trade ethnic · artisan · local
1034 Fort Street | 250·380·7654 | www.epicureanpantry.ca
long with importance of single origin cocoa, organic and fair trade are both significant components to the rehabilitation of chocolate’s villainous past. Like coffee, workers are paid a pittance and are barely able to survive growing the beans for coffee and for chocolate. Small farmers often spend more growing their crop than they receive from big multinational coffee and cocoa buyers. Ever wonder why that Mars bar is so cheap? Organic is also crucial. Large corporations practice monoculture which destoys natural habitat and without fertizers and pesticides this would not be possible. Organic is a first step in returning cocoa production to sustainable levels. When buying chocolate look for the following on the label: Certified Organic & Fair Trade.
Organic & Fair Trade Here are a few local organic and fair trade chocolate makers worth seeking out.
Organic Fair This Cowichan Valley farm produces artisan products and welcomes visitors. They hand make 11 various chocolate bars, all of which are certified organic, fair trade and Demeter Certified Biodynamic. Try their Corazon - 70% Cocoa Dark chocolate with Vanilla Bean, Cocao Nibs, Honey & Rose essence. 1935 Doran Road, Cobble Hill, BC, www.organicfair.com
Denman Island Chocolate Since 1998 a mainstay in stores around BC. Daniel and Ruth Terry’s Denman Island chocolates are made with non-GMO soy lecithin 70% pure cocoa. Seven bars are produced, many of which use local fruits and nuts as ingredients. New is Rosemary Baby with essence of rosemary. www.denmanislandchocolate.com
V I C’S S T E A K H O U S E & B A R 10 0 % C A N A D I A N B E E F & F I N E W I N E S
O P E N I N G E A R LY 2 0 0 8 VIC’ S STEAKHOUSE & BAR | 345 QUEBEC STREET | 250.480.6585
Markus’ Wharfside Restaurant
Zazubean Organic Chocolates Nutraceutical or functional foods are a growing trend. Zazubean Organic Chocolates produces Canada's first line of functional gourmet chocolate. In keeping with the company's philosophy, all of Zazubean's chocolate is dark (over 70%) to maximize health properties, certified organic to ensure our food and planet is kept safe. It is also certified fair-trade, ensuring that all people connected to the product have been treated with dignity and respect. Two bars to look for are: Luna (tic) This Natural Health Product for women's monthly madness contains a crazy blend of herbs infused in a delicious, certified organic minty 72% dark chocolate with raw cocoa nibs to take the edge off of women's monthly madness in a sweet and natural way. It contains 1000mg of Maca root per bar which is a nutritious root vegetable from the central highlands of Peru. It is used as a hormonal balancer to help alleviate symptoms of menopause and PMS. Ego combines Matcha green tea (which is a powerful antioxidant) and the longevity superfruit Goji berries in a organic certified 70% dark chocolate bar. Matcha green tea contains some of the most powerful natural anti-oxidants that helps rid the body of free radicals, prevents cancer, boosts energy, protects against infection and boosts metabolism. 105 - 237 East 4th Ave., Vancouver, BC, 604.801.5488, www.zazubean.com
Thomas Haas Grand Cru Cocoa Bars Vancouver master chocolatier Thomas Hass has come out with a series of six deluxe chocolate bars that are named according to the cocoa percentage found in each bar. They range from 37% up to 83% with each rise in cocoa content the choclate taste becomes more intense. Each bar uses a different cocoa varietal and are single origin. (604) 924-184, www.thomashaas.com
(250) 642-3596 1831 Maple Ave. Sooke !www.markuswharfsiderestaurant.com
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Wild 67% Dark chocolate bar, 45% Criollo and 55% Trinitario beans Origin: Bolivia, wild harvest Taste profile: Robust cocoa with a smooth finish and fragrant nuances of banana and mango
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ALL EYES Life After West ON david hawkesworth What's Next For David Hawksworth?
Interview by Chris Mason Stearns Photo by Tracey Kusiewicz
EAT MAGAZINE JAN | FEBRUARY 2008
or Chef David Hawksworth, the new year truly signals a new beginning. After seven successful years at South Granville's award-winning West Restaurant, he is breaking out on his own to open a signature room in the completely remodeled Hotel Georgia - a project he describes as the defining statement of his culinary career. Over a beer across town at Chambar, he talked with Chris Mason Stearns about his years at West, the joys and sorrows of cooking locally, why "Pacific Northwest" cuisine is a fallacy, and dishes details on his upcoming first solo restaurant, scheduled to open its doors on the eve of the 2010 Winter Olympics. EAT: You were at the helm of the West kitchen for seven years. You guided it during its opening, growing pains, re-branding, and a mounting pile of accolades. The restaurant stands at the acme of Vancouver's fine dining scene, and has gotten stronger as the competition has stumbled. Why leave now? David Hawksworth: It's time. It's been the greatest experience. I've learned tons about the business, and I couldn't have asked for anything more. I've worked with really great people, really passionate people. I was waiting for that exactly right property. I didn't want to go and be a hero somewhere else. I'm 50% owner in the restaurant [at the Hotel Georgia], along with the hotel's owners. I wanted a place that had great architecture. I want to make a statement. I looked at other things, but this was it. You know when you see something, and...you know, this is where I want to be. EAT: Have you chosen a name yet? DH: There's a shortlist of names and we're working it out. I have some time to think about it.
over to the UK, probably to the Fat Duck. Everywhere. EAT: Vancouverites associate you with haute cuisine, but I know you don’t eat like that every day. What's your favourite lowbrow meal in the city? DH: Ramen noodles. There are three noodle shops I'm partial to: Legendary Noodle on Main & 24th -- they make hand-made noodles right there, and it's very good -- Kintaro on Denman Street, and Ezogiku Noodle House on Robson. Now is the right time of year to go; I can't do it in August. I had noodles today, at Ezogiku. You've got everything there: vegetables, meat, noodles, spicy broth. I'm a bit of a carb fanatic.
Onwards and Upwards: David Hawksworth leaves West for a room of his own EAT: Have you sensed a retreat from fine dining in the last several years? It seems to me that the culinary scene here isn't trying as hard to prove itself lately. If you look at the new restaurants which have been successful, they're more casual, more comfort-food oriented. What does that mean? Have Vancouverites lost interest in fine dining? Or have we reached a point where we're more comfortable with our tastes?
DH: It's on the shortlist.
DH: I think people want to go to a fun restaurant, to a place with a lot of atmosphere, and go to a couple of different restaurants [in one night]. You can't really do that with fine dining. You couldn’t go to Lumière and then West in one night – it would be weird. I think people want to have more fun when they go out. More younger people are going out in the downtown core now, restaurant hopping. If you go out in Montréal, you'll hit four different restaurants in one night, which is a great night out.
EAT: Tell me a little about your plans for the new restaurant - the style, the concept you’re planning.
EAT: Are we naturally averse as West Coasters to “no elbows on the table” dining?
DH: I want this place to be a lot of fun. The room is going to be sexy, incredible. The kitchen will be outrageous. It's going to be a busy, busy spot. There's going to be a fine dining aspect to it. My idea of fine dining is the French Laundry, or [Alain] Ducasse. It's not going to be that [laughs]. Is it going to be great food? Yes. I'm going to have to find a balance. I want people to go before and after the hockey game, business lunches. We'll be open for breakfast too. There are going to be four different experiences inside: a bar and lounge, the dining room, and a private room which will seat 30-40.
DH: No, but I think that fine dining has a lot to do with your business clientele. If you go to Toronto or New York, into the fine dining rooms where business is getting done, 80% of the clients are paying through their business accounts, whereas in Vancouver the reverse is true. It's maybe 10%.
EAT: The rumour I've heard is that you're calling it “Hawksworth.” DH: [laughs] Yeah, that's a rumour. EAT: But it's on the shortlist?
EAT: You said the kitchen was going to be outrageous. What are you doing? DH: In the last five years I think low temp cooking has really come on, as far as equipment goes. [We’ll be doing] low temperature 100% humidity cooking in a drawer, just drop a vacuum-packed stuffed rabbit loin in there and it's the same as putting it in a water circulator - but just with wet air. I've got time to do a lot of travelling next year, so I'll be able to spend some time in other kitchens to see how it's best done.
EAT: Right. It’s special occasion dining. Birthdays, anniversaries, engagements. And wealthy tourists from out of town. Let’s talk a bit about your background. You cooked in Vancouver for a time before going overseas to train. Where did you get your start? DH: The Beach House in West Vancouver was my first real restaurant job, back when Andre Skalbania owned it. Then Le Crocodile, Il Giardino and Villa del Lupo - I actually had three jobs at one time. I was working weekends at Villa del Lupo, lunches at Le Crocodile, and dinners at Il Giardino. That was a good mix, because everyone I was working for was from Europe. That's when I got the idea that there was just no way I could stay in Vancouver and learn what I wanted to learn. EAT: Has that changed?
EAT: Where are you planning to go? DH: Probably to Joël in Atlanta; Joel Antunes is a French chef who I worked in Asia and London. He's very good. [I’ll go to see] David Kinch at Manresa, a two-star Michelin place [in Los Gatos, CA]. He's a really good friend and we talk a fair bit. He's doing something quite unique: he's opened up his own garden and is doing a lot of his own vegetables. Then I'll go to Singapore and
DH: You still have to go away now. Even if you grow up in Paris you still have to. If not, you're just going to be an imprint of what's happening around you. You're never going to be able to stretch and do something else. You need to travel and see things. EAT: Let's talk about Pacific Northwest Cuisine. Five years ago when questioned on the subject, you said "I
don't really have a handle on what Pacific Northwest Cuisine is." How do you feel now? DH: I still don’t. What is Pacific Northwest cooking? What do you mean by that? Obviously there's an Asian influence - that's definitely strong. But I still don't think it's kind of there yet. It's not defined. You can immediately tell when you're having French food, you can immediately tell when it's Italian. Modern British is basically using English products with French techniques... EAT: Isn't that what chefs are trying to do here -- cook with local products and techniques they've imported from other places? DH: That's what is happening, lots of Japanese & Chinese techniques are being used. And there's that British influence too. EAT: You and your wife Anabel have a new son, Heston, who is five months old. Is he named after the Heston I'm thinking of? DH: [laughs] No. I used to work with Heston Blumenthal at The Canteen [in London] and we were friends for a while. I've known him for years. But I have not named my son after him! [Blumenthal has since opened The Fat Duck, an internationally famous three-Michelin-star restaurant in Berkshire] EAT: What will it take for Vancouver to earn it's first Michelin star? And do we even want one? DH: It's a good question; they come with a lot of baggage. I know restaurants in London that have said "not interested." Once you enter that game, and get your first star, you're always in a battle to keep your stars. If at any time you ever lose a star, it puts a huge black cloud over your restaurant. Is it really worth it? I don't know. I really enjoyed working in Michelin-starred restaurants. I loved the pressure, the intensity, and the focus of everybody. They were there for one reason: perfection for each and every service. It was very competitive and a lot of fun. But from a business standpoint, do you really want it? Again, I don't know. There are certain things that you can't do. I don’t know of anyone who's been to a 'fun' three-star. I think the Michelin Guide will eventually come here, but I can't see it happening for three years, maybe. I've heard talk of it happening in Toronto. We'll see. EAT: You've embraced the sourcing of local ingredients. What are some of the joys and sorrows of cooking locally? DH: Some sorrows: I guess not having day-boat fishing is one. It's such a vast coastline, so getting anything on the same day it's been caught is a struggle. Another thing: we can't serve wild game in restaurants here. If you could, you might see more of a true local cuisine emerge, because there might be species of grouse that are only in this area, for example. In the UK, August 12th is known as the "glorious twelfth," when all the grouse are fair game, and they go back on the menu. That is one of the highlights of the season, along with local wild deer and wild rabbit. We used to get pheasant, feathers on and still warm, delivered to the back of the kitchen. You really appreciate what you're doing. It becomes an art when you see the whole process. EAT: And some joys? DH: Scallops. Just in the last year we've been able to get fresh, live scallops on a regular basis. Spot prawns, mushrooms, Polderside chicken - a very similar bird to Poulet de Bresse. Their duck is unbelievable! Every couple of months, somebody comes out of the woodwork and does something new. I've been back here seven years and things have progressed significantly in that time. David Hawkworth's as-yet-unnamed restaurant in the Hotel Georgia is slated to open in late 2009.
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A box of yard long beans on Fisgard Street
s ’ k o o C A o t e d i u G s ’ a i r o t c Vi n w o t a n i Ch
EAT MAGAZINE JAN | FEBRUARY 2008
Chef and food writer Heidi Fink celebrates the 150th anniversary of the first Chinese settlement in Canada with a guided culinary tour for EAT readers.
Photos by Gary Hynes
You are boggled. Standing in the aisle of a Chinatown market, staring at the bewildering array of unfamiliar foods for sale, you hesitate over the smallest purchase. You know this place holds undiscovered treasures – exotic fruits and vegetables, delicious bottled sauces, unusual fresh noodles and hanging sides of crispy pork – but how does a Western cook get started? How do you make sense of all the different ingredients? Which brands to buy? And what to do with all this stuff once you get it home?
s a chef who specializes in Asian cuisine, I am a veteran of food forays into Chinatown, regularly stopping there to stock up on everything from fresh lemongrass to dried black fungus. But I can easily remember a time when I was daunted by the unlabelled bulk bins and unrecognizable bottles on display in its markets. So, in the spirit of culinary camaraderie, and as a fitting way to honour Chinatown’s 150th anniversary, I offer this overview of the ways and means through Chinatown’s culinary treasures. Let’s start with the basics. Victoria’s Chinatown has a variety of food-purveying stores. How do we know which ones to shop at? Are some better than others? The answer depends on what you’re looking for. Any one of the grocery stores in Chinatown is a great bet for produce. They each sell a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables at unbeatable prices. From apples to shallots, from bok choy to lotus root, you will find it here, and for cheaper than anywhere else in the city. Some items are only available seasonally; others are here year-round. In the spring, look for fresh water chestnuts (a definite must-buy: their sweet taste and superb texture are a world away from the canned variety). The summer brings fresh Thai galangal and
yellow Ataulfo mangoes (delicious, with a small pit and smooth, stringless flesh). The fall markets display baskets of perfectly ripe fresh black figs and bundles of glossy Chinese water spinach. And winter sees good deals on anything that is too expensive to consider buying elsewhere (think bell peppers). Choosing produce from the sidewalk bins is relatively easy, but what do you buy once inside the store? Not only are you contending with unfamiliar foodstuffs, but every shop is different inside. Two of the stores specialize in ready-to-eat foods – mainly Chinese barbecued duck and pork and delicious salty “crispy” pork. These fantastic meats, often overlooked by Western cooks, are some of the easiest ingredients to use when creating an authentic Asian meal – but more on Chinese barbecue later. I tend to shop for these ready-toeat meats at Loy Sing Co. on Fisgard, mostly because it is in the busier part of Chinatown and has a quicker turnover. You can also purchase whole barbecued duck and goose from Tai Sang Co. (1717 Government). Another food store, Eastern Food Market on Fisgard, actually sells only a few non-perishable food items within a vast array of wonderful cooking utensils, baskets, pottery and household goods. I love to shop here for storage bas-
kets, ceramic dishes and kitchen utensils, but not for food. The remaining five food shops are small grocery stores that sell a variety of dry goods and assorted fresh produce. While I can’t recommend one store over another, I can say that there are a few stores I shop at more frequently, and some I go to for specialty items. I often choose Fisgard Market, at 550 Fisgard, for its large size and heavy turnover. It has the largest selection of dried goods and grocery items, as well as the largest refrigerated section in Chinatown. The inside of the store is divided into easy-to-navigate sections and has separate, labelled shelves for Thai and Japanese ingredients. The variety and selection at this store make for a decent one-stop shopping trip. Jan K Market, across the street at 555 Fisgard, is a favourite of mine when looking for specialty Thai ingredients. It carries vacuum-sealed bags of frozen galangal and frozen keffir lime leaves, palm sugar, tamarind, and bags of unusual Asian spices such as Szechuan peppercorns, whole star anise and dried curry leaves. Tai Sang Co. (1717 Government) is also an excellent place to find Thai ingredients. They carry fresh galangal in the summer as well as year-round supplies of fresh lemongrass, >
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bulk-dried shrimp in four varieties, fresh Thai chilies and big bunches of fresh mint and Thai basil at unbeatable prices. Tai Sang Co. is also famous among chefs for the perfect freshness of its produce. If you are looking for beautiful bundles of gai lan (Chinese broccoli), perfect baby bok choy lined up in clear bags, shiny Asian eggplants or inexpensive long English cucumbers, Tai Sang is your go-to shop. Jia Hua Trading Co., the first store you hit as you walk past the Chinatown gates, has a large selection of what is often the most inexpensive produce on the block. Fresh mangoes are a bargain at 79 or 89 cents each, and the rest of the produce follows suit. Moon Key Groceries is best for its bulk-dried mushrooms, including beautiful dried shiitakes, and bags of local dried seaweeds. This store also has inexpensive fresh produce and dried goods. Once you have picked a store, you need to know what to buy. Victoria’s Chinatown may be small, but its stores carry a boggling array of Asian culinary ingredients, enough to help make authentic meals from every country in Asia, from India to Japan. Although the stores in Chinatown do carry a variety of Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Indonesian and Indian foods, in this article I’ve stuck with the two countries whose cuisines are most heavily represented in the food aisles: Thailand and China.
1715 Government Street 250.475.6260 www.lecole.ca email@example.com
Dinner 5:30 - 11 pm Tuesday to Saturday
Rice Everyday rice: The most basic food of all of these countries is, of course, rice. Asian cuisine is centred on rice as the focus of every meal. The Chinese and Thai peoples prefer fluffy, slightly sticky, long-grain rice for their everyday eating. Jasmine rice, a fragrant Thai rice, is my favourite for both Thai and Chinese meals, although “fancy” long grain rice is very good as well. High-quality brands of both Thai jasmine rice and Chinese long grain rice are available at Fisgard Market. Sweet rice: You can buy other kinds of rice as well, especially if you want to dive into more elaborate cooking techniques, or into the world of Asian sweets. Chinese sweet glutinous rice and Thai sweet rice both have low amounts of amylose, which makes the cooked grains very shiny and unbelievably sticky. These rices are used in desserts (for example, the famous Thai coconut-flavoured dessert known as mangoes with sticky rice), savoury appetizers and meat stuffings. While both these rices are very sticky, they cannot be used interchangeably. Thai sweet rice is a long-grain variety that must be soaked and steamed; Chinese glutinous rice is a sweeter, short-grain rice that can be boiled. If you can pick only one, Thai jasmine rice would be my first choice for all-purpose rice.
THAI BASICS Rice Thai Jasmine rice for everyday cooking; Thai sweet rice for desserts and snacks. See rice sidebar for more details.
Salty Flavourings Fish sauce, made from salted and fermented anchovies, is an amber-coloured liquid that smells horrible (yes, it is supposed to smell that way!) but tastes divine. The best is the delicate Vietnamese brand Golden Boy available at Fisgard Market and bottled in three different sizes. Fish sauce does not go bad, but it gets darker and stronger over time, so I keep mine for only up to one year. Yellow bean sauce, made from aged soybeans, is also known as salted yellow beans and yellow bean paste. It is used as a salty flavouring, usually in conjunction with fish sauce. It is deliciously full-flavoured, with both sweet and salty notes, and with the bonus of being a vegetarian-friendly sauce. Yellow bean is one of the main seasonings in lat na, a Thai wide noodle dish. My favourite brand is Yeo’s Salted Soja Beans and is available in the sauce aisle of Fisgard Market.
Noodles and Wrappers Although still considered a Chinese import in Thailand, noodles and noodle dishes have reached a peak of deliciousness in that country. Most Thai noodle dishes are made from rice noodles of different sizes. Labelled “rice stick,” Thai rice noodles are flat, rather like linguine and come in different widths (small, medium and large). My two favourites are Angel brand and Erawan brand; these companies both make all sizes of rice noodle, labelled with a capital S, M or L, depending on the width. Rice stick noodles are never cooked in boiling water; they must be soaked in hot tap water for 25 minutes and drained before frying with all or part of a sauce. If the noodles are boiled, they turn into a gluey mess when you stir-fry them. Rice vermicelli, looking like tiny angelhair pasta, is used in cold noodle dishes. The best varieties of rice vermicelli come from Vietnam and usually have the word “Bahn” or “Buhn” on the package. Since they are usually eaten cold, these noodles can be boiled. Rice paper wrappers are used to make delicate Vietnamese spring rolls (often referred to as salad rolls so as not to confuse them with Chinese spring rolls). Use any size you like. These need only be dipped in warm water to soften them. Once they are soft, fill them with a few fresh vegetables, some cold cooked shrimp and some fresh mint and basil, roll them up and enjoy! When buying rice paper wrappers, look for those that are on the thicker side. I like Rose brand.
Coconut Milk I have three words for you: “Shake the can.” The richest and best coconut milk is high in creamy coconut fat. It is solid at room temperature and won’t move around when you shake the can. If you hear any liquid sloshing when you shake the can, put the can back and try the next one. No matter the brand and no matter the price, some cans have good coconut milk and some have thin stuff. Keep shaking until you find what you need. >
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Important Thai Seasonings If you have ever opened a Thai cookbook and wondered where to find all the special seasonings called for, look no further. Between Fisgard Market, Jan K Market and Tai Sang Co., you will find everything you need to make an authentic Thai meal. Many of these ingredients are also available at your local supermarket but usually only in dried form, which has little or no flavour. It is worth the trip to Chinatown to load up on fresh or frozen Thai aromatics. Fresh lemongrass is sold year-round in the produce section of every market in Chinatown. To get the most from this lemony-smelling herb, use only the “belly,” the fat two inches at the bottom of the stem (measured after you have cut off the tough root). Use the rest in your bath water or put it in the compost. Smash the lemongrass belly with a heavy can or pot before using it in a recipe. Keffir lime leaves are sold frozen at Jan K Market. Sliced thinly and used to flavour soups and coconut curries, these are indispensable to Thai cuisine. Never substitute dried leaves for fresh or frozen. Galangal, a rhizome similar in appearance to ginger, but with an aromatic pine-like fragrance, can be bought fresh in the summer at Tai Sang, or frozen year-round at Jan K Market. Do not use ginger as a replacement. Tamarind, an important ingredient in Indian cuisine as well as in southeast Asia, is sold in blocks of pulp that look remarkably like baking dates in their package. Tamarind is fruity, sour and slightly sweet (think sour cherry). Used as a souring agent in massaman curry and pad thai, as well as for Indian chutneys and dahls, tamarind is at its freshest in Chinatown, at either Jan K Market or Fisgard Market. Extracting the usable pulp from this block is very simple but takes a bit of time: pour boiling water over a portion of the pulp, soak it until it becomes soft, mash it with a fork and then push it through a strainer, keeping all the liquid and strained solids and discarding the seeds and strings. I do not recommend using bottled tamarind concentrate as a substitute for soaking your own. Pastes (curry, shrimp and chili): If possible, it is better to make your own, but bottled curry pastes can be an acceptable substitute. Made from a mixture of Thai aromatics, shrimp paste and spices, Thai curry paste is moist and potent. Fisgard Market sells the Thai Kitchen brand, which has the most flavour in my opinion. This market sells a delicious Thai shrimp paste as well. Shrimp paste keeps indefinitely in the fridge and is a must-buy for Thai food connoisseurs. Southeast Asian chili paste, in the form of sambal olek, can be found in the sauce aisle. Dried shrimp are indispensable as a seasoning for Thai foods. They are used in salads, noodles, curry paste and street snacks. The shrimp can be chopped finely and cooked in the dish or mashed to a paste with other aromatics. Tai Sang Co. sells dried shrimp in bulk and Fisgard Market sells it packaged. In both stores, look for shrimps that are on the bigger side and have a bright colour. Salted radish is one of the more unusual ingredients in Chinatown, shelved with all the other “strange dried foods” and often with no English label. Looking a bit like thick yellowbrown worms, salted radish is nevertheless delicious. Used as a flavouring in pad thai and other Thai noodle and rice dishes, it is salty and crunchy, with a savoury overtone and slight sweetness. Salted radish is chopped finely before being cooked with food. There are several different types available, sold in plastic packaging on the shelf. My favourite, after trying most of them, is only available at Tai Sang Co. It has no English brand name on the pink label, but the radish pieces inside the see-through package are mustard-coloured rather than offwhite. Palm sugar, the main sweetener in Thai foods, is the boiled-down sap tapped from the coconut or sugar palm. This unrefined sugar has a mild pineapple fragrance and delicate sweetness. The palm sugar that comes in packages of eight little disks is the easiest to use. Sold at both Fisgard Market and Jan K Market.
CHINESE BASICS Rice Chinese fancy long grain or Thai jasmine for everyday use; sweet glutinous rice for desserts, stuffings and appetizers. See rice sidebar for more details.
Salty Flavourings: Light and Dark Soy Sauce The difference between dark soy sauce and light soy sauce seems mystifying to the average Canadian, until they try the sauces side by side. Chinese light soy is similar to Japanese soy sauce, which is generally the type of soy sauce Westerners use most often. Light soy is used as a table condiment or as a seasoning for light soups, sauces and vegetables. Dark soy is extremely dark and syrupy, with a rich earthy flavour. Dark soy is often fermented with mushrooms added. It is used only for marinades and for cooking and is prized almost as much for the dark red colour it gives to foods as for its intense taste. These sauces are not interchangeable. >
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Since soy sauce has an almost indefinite shelf life, it is worthwhile to buy both light and dark soy sauces and keep them handy for your forays into Asian cuisine. For light soy, I like to use Kikkoman Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce or Pearl River Bridge Gold Label Superior Light Soy. For dark soy, my favourite is Pearl River Bridge Mushroom Flavour Superior Dark Soy. These are available at any market in Chinatown.
Salty Flavourings: Bean Sauce or Bean Paste
Stay | URBAN
Chinese yellow bean sauce or paste is the same as the one used in Thai cooking. See details under Thai Basics. Chinese cooks often mix yellow bean sauce with hot sauce, or you can buy a pre-mixed hot bean paste (Yeo’s makes a good brand) that transforms sautéed noodles, scallions and vegetables into a delectable meal in no time. Black bean sauce is one that most of us are familiar with. The bottled black bean sauce is handy, but infinitely better is a homemade sauce made from whole fermented black beans. These beans are sold in little plastic packages in that “strange dried food” aisle, next to the dried mushrooms and dried shrimp. Fermented black beans are black soybeans that have been cooked, salted and dried. They need no further cooking or rinsing. They are made into a delicious sauce by adding them (chopped or whole) directly to sautéed ginger, scallions, garlic, chilies and lemon or orange zest, along with a little dry sherry, light soy and chicken stock. One of the jewels of Cantonese cooking, this fragrant, earthy and light sauce is perfect for seafood and dishes of tender tofu.
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One of the most important flavourings in the Chinese kitchen, sesame seeds are roasted to bring out their fragrance before being pressed for their oil or ground into a nut butter. Nutty and aromatic, toasted sesame oil is essential for many Chinese recipes; there is no substitute. When buying sesame oil, look for 100 percent sesame oil sold in little glass bottles. Make sure it hasn’t been blended with soy oil. Sesame oil has a long shelf life. Chinese toasted sesame paste is nothing like Middle Eastern tahini. It has a deeper, richer flavour, more akin to peanut butter than tahini. Sesame paste is used most famously in the dressing for a spicy Szechuan cold noodle salad, but it is also added to marinades and sauces.
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EAT MAGAZINE JAN | FEBRUARY 2008
Ready-to-eat and cured meats Prepared meats in Chinatown include barbecued meats, crispy pork, Chinese sausage and bacon. These constitute a mostly untapped resource for Western cooks. These meats are delicious, require no preparation and can be used as the basis of a super-quick Asianinspired meal. The Chinese method of barbecue, used mainly for duck, goose and pork, transforms meat into something sweet, succulent and tender. Cut to order and sold by the portion, this meat is easy to toss with rice and vegetables for an almost instant meal. Crispy pork, with a crackling skin and moist, salty flesh, is sold with a small container of delicious dark sauce. Once home, you can use the sauce as a base for a quick stir-fry, add the sliced crispy pork, and toss with cooked noodles or serve over rice. (I have to admit, though, in my house, this delicious meat often gets devoured before I have a chance to do anything with it.) You can buy both barbecued meats and crispy pork any time at Loy Sing Co. or you can pre-order whole barbecued duck and goose from Tai Sang Co. The owners bring it in from Vancouver, where they swear the barbecue is better and fresher. Chinese sausages are usually sold, vacuum-sealed, in the refrigerated section of any store in Chinatown. Looking like a bunch of short pepperoni, the sausages are dense, sweet and intensely flavoured, with a firm texture. Wing Wing brand, made in Vancouver, is the most popular. Even after opening, a package of Chinese sausage will last for weeks in the refrigerator. They must be steamed for 15 minutes before using; steaming melts their excessive fattiness and softens their tough, gristly texture to a tender chew. After steaming, slice them for use in rice and vegetable dishes, or, for a Western twist, add them to scrambled eggs. For the simplest meal, thinly slice two or three links of raw Chinese sausage and place directly on top of rice as it is coming to a boil in the pot. Reduce heat, cover, and cook the rice as usual; the sausage will steam as the rice cooks, and it will flavour the rice at the same time.
Dried Items in (Mostly) Unlabelled Packages This is the area of Chinatown food shops that Western shoppers tend to give the widest berth. The foods in here look wildly unfamiliar and are often unlabelled or have no English name. However, there are delightful and delicious items to be discovered in this aisle. The first and most important are the dried mushrooms. The mushrooms labelled “Chinese black mushroom.” “Black Forest mushroom” or sometimes simply “dried mushroom” are actually very high-quality dried shiitake mushrooms. The mushrooms with the deep white fissures in their caps are considered the best quality, yet a big half-pound package of these delicious fungi is only $8! Full of earthy, perfume-y shiitake flavour and sport-
ing a wonderful texture, these mushrooms need to be soaked in warm water for about 30 minutes, have their stems removed, and their caps sliced or chopped to mix into vegetable dishes or stuffings. Strain and reserve the soaking liquid for use in soups or sauces. The best brands of this mushroom are Japanese. For those who don’t want to invest in a whole package, some beautiful dried shiitakes are available in bulk at Moon Key Groceries on Fisgard Street. Cloud ear fungus (also called tree ear, wood ear or black fungus) is sold dried in two sizes: large and small. Used for their pleasing crunch rather than their taste, cloud ear fungus must be soaked in hot water for at least 30 minutes and rinsed before using. They expand a lot, so start with only a tablespoon or two. This fungus is standard in hot and sour soup and mu shu pork and in Buddhist vegetarian food. Look for the smallest fungus you can buy; the large ones are very tough and gritty. Lily buds (also known as golden needles and tiger lily stems or buds) are the dried, unopened flowers of a daylily and are used heavily in Buddhist vegetarian cuisine. They have a mildly astringent, floral taste and delicate texture. When buying, look for lily buds than are golden and pliable, not dry and brown. Soak them in hot water for 30 minutes, cut off the tough stem ends and slice into thin strips. These are a main ingredient in hot and sour soup. Chinese preserved vegetables are delicious salt-pickled and dried vegetables. They can be sold in either plastic packages or crocks. Chinese preserved vegetables are similar to Thai salted radish (see Thai section) but are more frequently made with the stems and greens of a special mustard plant rather than radish, although turnip and cabbage are seen as well. Sometimes these vegetables are preserved with garlic or chilies. All have a rich, briny flavour that pairs well with pork dishes and braises and adds depth to vegetable and tofu recipes. Most of the time, these vegetables are left unrinsed and then chopped and cooked directly into the food. Dried shrimp: (see this heading under Thai foods for more detail). Chinese cooks soak them before tossing them whole into soups, vegetables or congee (rice-porridge). Dried fish are seen more frequently at some of the smaller stores in Chinatown. Some are salted, but most are just dried. Pieces of dried fish are soaked before using and can be simply steamed over rice or fried until crisp in hot oil and served with sautéed scallions, chilies and garlic. Pieces can be braised or deep-fried. Dried scallops are a delicacy in China and preferred over the fresh, but they are used mostly as a flavouring for soups and sauces. All Chinese dried seafood has an inherent fishy flavour that takes a bit of getting used to, but is well worth acquiring a taste for. Jellyfish, fish maw and fish bladder are among the most mysterious-looking items that a Western shopper will find in Chinatown. They can be found dried in clear bags or in bulk bins. In the case of dried jellyfish, the pieces are salted and moist-looking. All three of these must be soaked for several hours or overnight; jellyfish must also be parboiled for 15 minutes after soaking. They all have little flavour but are prized for their texture. Add these to the category of foods particularly enjoyed in China: slippery, crunchy, gelatinous proteins that absorb the flavours of whatever they are cooked with. They are usually sliced and served in soup or dressed and served cold as a salad with vegetables and seafood.
Salty Flavourings An important distinguishing factor from one Asian cuisine to another is the type of salty flavouring used in its cuisine. For true authenticity, stick to the proper type of salt for your chosen meal. Light and dark soy sauces are the main seasonings in China; fish sauce is the main source of salt in southeast Asia. Salted yellow beans and salted black beans are also commonly used, both whole and in paste form, in China and southeast Asia. More on these under the individual headings for each country.
Bottled Sauces and Other Seasonings The sauce aisle can be the second most boggling section to the untried Westerner. “What are all those sauces for and what do I do with them?” you ask. I have already covered soy sauces and bean sauces in previous sections, but there are still many other sauces to be discovered. Many of us are familiar with hoisin sauce and oyster sauce. Both are thick, salty, dark sauces but with different flavour profiles and different uses. Hoisin sauce, an entirely vegetarian sauce based on fermented soy and sweet potato, is quite sweet, thicker than oyster sauce and has a lovely star-anise aroma. At its best with grilled meats, hoisin sauce also makes a delicious vegetarian stir-fry sauce when thinned with a little light soy and toasted sesame oil. I like to buy Lee Kum Kee brand. Oyster sauce is a staple of Cantonese cooking and is made from oysters, water and salt. With its rich, salty flavour, oyster sauce can be used as an all-purpose seasoning for noodle, vegetable and seafood dishes. When buying oyster sauce, look for the most expensive brand you can find. My current favourite is called LKK’s Premium Oyster-Flavoured Sauce. Sa cha chiang sauce (sometimes labelled barbecue sauce but unrelated to the sweet sauce used on Chinese barbecued meats) is more like a curry paste than a barbecue sauce. Made from dried fish, ground peanuts, garlic, chilies and spices, this oily paste can be smeared on meats before grilling or added to meat or vegetable stir-fries for instant pizzazz. Although the mixture of ingredients sounds odd, this sauce is delicious. Yeo’s make a good sa cha chiang sauce. While southeast Asian sambal olek (chili paste) is rapidly becoming a staple of the Canadian kitchen, Chinese chili-garlic paste is yet to be discovered by the average cook. Thicker than sambal, with a rounded garlic flavour added to its chili kick, chili-garlic paste is usually mixed with other ingredients to make a sauce for noodles, meat or vegetables. This paste can be used for both Thai and Chinese recipes. I buy Lee Kum Kee brand.
VICTORIA FILM FESTIVAL FEBRUARY 1-10, 2008 FESTIVAL PACKAGE DEAL THE VICTORIA FILM FESTIVAL / FAIRMONT EMPRESS PACKAGE CAN BE A GIFT FROM THE HEART, IF YOU SAVE IT FOR AN EARLY VALENTINE’S DAY TREAT! Check in at the legendary chateau-style Fairmont Empress Hotel, and entertain yourself with the hottest new films of the season at the Victoria Film Festival. Stroll through streets that are alive with European charm, and transform those winter “blahs” into pleasured “aahs…” For only $159/night, enjoy a luxurious Fairmont Empress Hotel package for 2 people, including: OVERNIGHT ACCOMMODATION Book your retreat between February 1–10 FILM FESTIVAL TICKETS 4 tickets of your choice from a vast array of amazing films A DELICIOUS BREAKFAST A full English breakfast every morning of your stay COCKTAILS AT LOUNGERINO Enjoy a drink on us at the Festival meeting hub TO BOOK YOUR RESERVATION p. 384-8111 • e. firstname.lastname@example.org Ask for the “Film Festival Rate.”
SIPS ‘N’ CINEMA An evening of fine food, fine wine and fine film! After a film screening on February 9th, join movie buff and Festival Programmer Donovan Aikman in a fascinating discussion of the film while quaffing the delectable wines of Mission Hill.
WELL DONE Gourmands will delight in this movie, which will take them on a whirlwind tour through the world of two restaurant kings - Normand Laprise, chief of Toqué!, and Martin Picard, owner of Pied de Cochon. Accompany these two stars on their culinary journeys in Quebec, Hong Kong, Lyon and Spain, you’ll feel like an intimate of these passionate, explosive men who border on madness and creative excess.
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Noodles and wrappers In the dried noodle aisle of Fisgard Market, you will find an amazing variety of noodles, some made with wheat, some with egg and wheat, some made with rice flour and others made with bean or potato starch. Most of these dried noodles are relatively easy to use. The most unfamiliar dried Chinese noodles are bean thread noodles (also known as cellophane
www.eatmagazine.ca JAN | FEBRUARY 2008
Verjus Restaurant & Totem Travel Present:
Paris to Prague A Culinary and Wine Journey Executive Chef Shawn Morrison & Sommelier Stuart Brown present a regionally inspired culinary and wine adventure through the regions of central Europe. The journey begins with a Food and Wine Tasting Reception at Verjus on January 12, 2008 and continues with paired Five Course dinners from mid January to March and ends with a river cruise through the regions of central Europe. Regional Food & Wine Tasting Reception Paris/Alace/Germany/Czech Republic January 12, 2008 @ 2 pm $50 per person Regional Food & Wine Dinners Paris/Alace/Germany/Czech Republic Weekly from January to March $75 per person
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noodles and vermicelli). They are made from mung bean starch and keep their almost crunchy texture even after sitting in liquid for a long time. For that reason, bean thread is a popular noodle for soup. Boil them in water for several minutes to soften them before adding them to a soup. Don’t mix them up with the thin rice vermicelli, which look almost identical but won’t hold up in a soup. Fresh noodles, sold in the refrigerator section, can be more daunting to buy for a Western cook. The ones with egg added can be used more or less like dried noodles, but the delicate fresh won ton noodles should be used only for soup. Thin egg noodles are the most versatile. Whether fresh or dried, they can be boiled, drained and then stir-fried with vegetables or pan-fried in a nest shape, or, like pasta, simply tossed with a sauce (try this last method with a sauce of stir-fried cabbage, ground pork and hot bean paste). Thick, round noodles can be stir-fried or boiled and served in a soup. Gleaming white fresh rice-flour noodles are slippery in texture and mild in taste. Often labelled vermicelli sheets or sha he fen, they come in different thicknesses. The widest can be cut into wrappers to be rolled around fillings of shrimp, pork or chicken and eaten as part of dim sum. The thinner noodles can be used for stir-fries and soups. You can also cut the widest noodle sheets into thinner strips. Also in the refrigerator section is an array of wrappers: wonton wrappers, gyoza wrappers, spring roll wrappers, you name it. These are usually fresher and of better quality than the ones sold in the supermarket. Are you still with me? Although this article has only covered the basics, I hope that whatever your culinary bent, whether new to Asian cuisine or a seasoned Asian foodie, you have found something to learn here. And, if the number and variety of new ingredients seems overwhelming to you still, I recommend you arm yourself with this guide along with a good Asian cookbook (there are hundreds in the public library system if you don’t want to commit) and spend some time in Chinatown. Familiarize yourself with the ingredients, take a few home with you, and try out some likely-looking recipes. Even if the food doesn’t turn out the first time you try it, the worst that can happen is you’ll learn something new. Happy shopping and happy cooking! END
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How'd you like to be sitting in a cozy chair with a mug of hot chocolate watching the roiling surf of Cox's Bay? Throw in the warmth of a wood-burning fire and attentive service from friendly staff and the Great Room at Long Beach Lodge is the ideal perch for watching the winter storms on Vancouver Island's rainy west coast. We stayed in one of the "cottages". Fireplace, heavenly beds, full kitchen, separate bedroom, soaker tubs and only a short stroll to the main lodge for dinner (rain gear provided). Does it get any better? Special seasonal rates 1.877.844.7873, 1441 Pacific Rim Highway, Tofino, BC, www.longbeachlodgeresort.com
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www.eatmagazine.ca JAN | FEBRUARY 2008
The Heartbreak State Winemaking in Oregon’s marginal conditions – wet winters and cool dry summers – requires passion and determination. Perhaps that’s why the temperamental Pinot Noir has won the hearts of winemakers, bringing this close-knit community together. By Michaela Morris and Michelle Bouffard.
t’s your first winery visit in Oregon. You pull up to what you think is the right address, but all you can see is a small shack. Eventually, a farmer strolls by and asks grinning if you’re lost. You timidly admit that you have a tasting appointment but perhaps you took a wrong turn. “No mistake, you’re at the right place. Come on ’n!” Many hours and barrel samples later another fellow arrives in panic. He apologizes profusely to you for being late explaining that he was helping the winery next door with a barrel dilemma. Then he sees the farmer getting ready to serve the next barrel sample and laughs heartily: “I see you’ve been taking care of my visitors once again.” Now you’re really confused. Who is this farmer who just spent the entire afternoon with you? It turns out he is just a friendly neighbour who happens to know the winery inside out. The most amazing thing about this experience is that it isn’t isolated. Wherever you go, you are overwhelmed by a rare sense of community. If you have visited other wine regions, you can’t help but wonder why Oregon’s winemakers in particular are so tightly knit. The wine world is pretty competitive, and individual successes are often celebrated as an advantage over one’s adversaries. But in Oregon, the unity is palpable as soon as you set foot on its soil. Being a small region where winemaking is a fairly new activity, it attracts a different type of winemaker. “Anyone who decides to make wine in Oregon has to have incredible passion and determination,” declares Jason Lett of Eyrie Vineyards. “It is not easy to grow grapes and make wine in Oregon ... you have to work hard in an obscure region and a challenging climate. It is important to work together and exchange information.” Even though Pinot Gris is Oregon’s most planted grape, it is the capricious Pinot Noir that has won the hearts of winemakers and brought them together. Pinot Noir growers are a tough-skinned, persistent breed who know full well their heart will be broken multiple times. Pinot Noir has earned her moniker as the heartbreak grape for good reason. She’s difficult to grow, susceptible to disease and tends to “thrive” in more marginal climates where her success rate is a mere few vintages each decade. But when she’s good, she’s very, very good. Only the most hopelessly romantic who have experienced her in shining moments tend to sacrifice their life in the hopes of coaxing this brilliance from her again. If you are a winemaker in Burgundy, you have no choice. It has been the dominant red grape for hundreds of years and the only one allowed by law. In Oregon, Pinot Noir was a very definite choice. It was blind love for Pinot Noir that led the single-minded David Lett to Oregon in 1965. After graduating from UC Davis, a prominent oenology school in California, he took a job selling science textbooks to colleges in various states including Idaho, California, Washington and Oregon. He took soil samples at every stop, which he later analyzed to determine where he should establish his roots, quite literally. He was obsessed with finding the perfect soil and ideal site for Pinot Noir. Against experts’ advice, he eventually settled in Oregon’s Dundee Hills in the Willamette Valley, establishing Eyrie Vineyards in 1966. Today, Dundee Hills is recognized as one of the best sub-regions in Willamette for the production of Pinot Noir. Not surprisingly, experts weren’t convinced by Lett’s choice at the time. In terms of grape growing, Oregon’s climate has been described as marginal; hardly a good recommendation. Its proximity and openness to the sea makes it cool and rainy, something we are more than familiar with in B.C. But in Oregon the rain tends to fall mainly in the winter while the summers, though cool, are joyously dry. Long sunny days and cool breezy nights make for a prolonged, gentle ripening period, slowly enticing all of Pinot Noir’s haunting aromas to develop. If Pinot Noir is said to prefer anything, this is it. Yet the area is not without its pitfalls. One false
move and Pinot Noir is knocked off balance, demonstrating her fickle temperament. It was years before David Lett was actually vindicated. In 1979, his 1975 vintage put Oregon on the wine map when his Pinot Noir came in second in a competition organized by the French, beating many top Burgundy entries. It forced the world to acknowledge Oregon’s potential and captured the imagination of Burgundy’s most important producers. Significantly, Domaine Drouhin’s defeat inspired owner Robert Drouhin to establish Domaine Drouhin Oregon (DDO) in 1987. Instead of arrogantly assuming that Oregon could benefit from French techniques, Robert’s daughter and winemaker Véronique Drouhin interned at three leading Oregon wineries (including Eyrie who beat Drouhin) to gain a deeper understanding of the region.
Beautiful vineyards in Oregon's Willamette Valley. Oregon has come a long way since David Lett planted his first vines. Back then there were five wineries, today there are more than 300. The majority of Oregon’s Pinot Noir production is in the Willamette Valley. It has recently been broken into seven new sub-regions (Ribbon Ridge, Chehalem Mountains, McMinnville, Eola-Amity Hills, Yamhill-Carlton, Dundee Hill and Columbia Gorge). “The division is logical, it is based on soil and elevation, but it is hard to define the taste characteristics for each of them. Some people claim they can do that, but I don’t believe it. It doesn’t mean there is no difference.... Only time will show the differences,” says Cristom Vineyards’ winemaker Steve Doerner. He believes that some of the vineyards are still far too young. “It is easier to recognize winemaking styles at the moment,” he adds. Doerner’s argument certainly makes sense when you compare the wines from neighbours Cristom Vineyards and Bethel Heights, both located in Eola-Amity Hills. Doerner ferments his wines with a percentage of stems, which adds richness and body. They are more generous and need a few years in the cellar to fully shine. On the other hand, Bethel Heights (who doesn’t ferment with stems) produces lighter-bodied, elegant wines that are much more feminine in style and approachable at an earlier age. Both available in B.C., they make for an interesting and delicious comparison. With all the different styles of Oregon Pinot, it is it is remarkable how closely the winemakers work together. They are seriously committed to improving quality. Their annual Steamboat Conference sees Oregon winemakers gather together, inviting peers from other wine regions to share their experiences and difficulties in order to determine how they can do things better. Oregon is also at the forefront of the sustainability movement having established LIVE (Low Input Viticulture and Enology Program). Steve Doerner, who celebrated his 30th vintage of Pinot Noir in fall 2007, admits that his decision to leave California to make wine in
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Oregon was mainly due to Oregonâ€™s focus on Pinot Noir and its cool climate. But he was also attracted by the predominance of small family-owned wineries. â€œI feel I am part of something and I am more involved here than I ever felt I was in California.â€? Like many others, Doerner participates in various events created to promote the area. The most popular, the International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) held in July, is open to trade, media, consumers and winemakers from around the world. It has indisputably become one of the wine worldâ€™s best events and has established Oregon as a serious wine destination. Pinot Camp, on the other hand, is reserved for sommeliers, importers and retailers, giving them a chance to learn about the area in depth. Oregonâ€™s promotional efforts are certainly starting to pay off. The magic really occurs when you visit the area and meet the people. Their enthusiasm is contagious. Steve Doerner is passionate and extremely generous with his time, especially when eager visitors stop by. On Michelleâ€™s visits to Oregon, she spends an entire day at Cristom, tasting from the barrels and walking through the vineyards. If she shows up unannounced at Cameron Winery, the energetic owner/winemaker John Paul will stop everything he is doing to taste with her. Even if it means missing his lunch. Michelleâ€™s experience isnâ€™t unique. Local importers Peter and Elizabeth Crews went to Oregon on their honeymoon in 2003. They had just started their company, New World Wines, and were excited to discover Oregon for the first time. A stop at the Oregon Wine Tasting Room on Hwy. 18 just south of McMinnville changed the course of their trip, and their portfolio. A fellow named Patrick McElligot, who worked at the tasting room, spent a couple of hours with the couple, giving them useful contact numbers so they could meet the best producers and perhaps import their wines into B.C. This is how they found most of their Oregon estates, including Andrew Rich (see our tasting notes). While it is a true pleasure to visit Oregon and taste the wines in the region in which they are grown, we have long lamented the fact that Oregon wines are sorely lacking from our local shelves. Price point is certainly an issue. Oregon Pinot Noir is not cheap; remember it is difficult to produce. For years Drouhin and King Estate seemed to be the only Oregon wines available. The last couple of years have seen an influx of small quantities from a variety of boutique producers. Most can be found in private wine stores and restaurants with the LDB just starting to list a few more. This is the first bit of good news. The second bit is the strong Canadian dollar. If we are lucky, U.S. wine prices will start to come down. Even if prices do decrease though, Oregon Pinot Noir will remain an indulgence but one that is well worth it.
Ta s t i n g
N ot e s
Unless otherwise mentioned, most of these wines are found in private wine stores. If you are going out for dinner and wish to order a bottle of wine from Oregon, Brent Hyman from Rain City Grill in Vancouver always offers an extensive selection. 2005 Domaine Drouhin, Arthur, Chardonnay, Dundee Hills, $39.07, available in Liquor Stores + 231944 For those who have never experienced good Chardonnay from Oregon, youâ€™ll be blown away. If you have tasted Drouhinâ€™s Chard in the past and you are one of the converted, you wonâ€™t be disappointed. This wine has an incredible purity of fruit with bright aromas and flavours of lime and lemon. The subtle oak is well integrated and a mineral finish lingers and lingers. Very Burgundian in style. Try it with halibut ... a real treat!
2005 Cristom, Pinot Noir, Mt. Jefferson, $38.90 +338821 (cspc number) An iron fist in a velvet glove. Intense deep earthy aromas of pine, dark cherries and a touch of sweet tobacco. This wine is lush and generous yet balanced by supple tannin and bright acidity. It offers remarkable value. Look out for Cristomâ€™s single vineyard wines, especially the Jessie Vineyard. 2005 was an outstanding vintage and the best wines will be snapped up quickly.
2005 Andrew Rich, Cuvee B, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $39.95 +287557 Cuvee B shows a very different personality of Oregon Pinot Noir. Much darker in colour, the wine has a fuller body and fairly high tannin. Well balanced with ripe fruit and a pronounced stoniness, which manages to make the wine refreshing despite being robust. Decant it and drink with a piece of meat. 2004 De Ponte Cellars, Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, $49.95 +795989 It took us a while to actually take a sip of this wine. We kept on smelling it. Very delicate and pretty aromas of red cherry with savoury mineral notes. This lighter style of Pinot is delicious to drink now. Great when you are looking for a red wine to go with fish.
2003 Panther Creek, Pinot Noir, Freedom Hill Vineyard, Willamette Valley, $58.90 236224 As in many places in the world, 2003 was extremely hot in Oregon. As a result, the wines from this vintage tend to have much higher alcohol and display slightly pruney fruit not unlike some of the Californian Pinots. Even though the alcohol tends to dominate this wine, the combination of sweet oak and darker fruit makes this wine easy to gulp on its own.
2005 Domaine Drouhin, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $60.15, available in Liquor Stores +427492 The exceptional 2005 vintage is clearly evident in this wine. Incredible purity and concentration of fruit with a firm structure. Slightly tight right now, it will open up with a year or two in the cellar and develop complex aromas to add a bit of â€œje ne sais quoiâ€? to this already delicious wine. We would happily pair it with tuna, salmon or duck.
2004 Carlton Cellars, Roads Ends, Pinot Noir, Oregon $73.75 +070029 Established in 2001, Carlton Cellars is owned by the Grooters and Russell families. They wisely asked Ken Wright, a prominent figure in the Oregon wine scene, to make their wines. Only 600 cases of this wine were produced. The fruit come from Ken Wrightâ€™s highly acclaimed single vineyards. This is a true indulgence! Its haunting aromas will make you fall in love and your heart wonâ€™t be broken. Extremely complex, fine and expressive aromas on the nose, which are repeated on the palate. This is a fantastic example of the heights Oregon Pinot Noir can reach. It could easily compete against any top Pinot Noir in the world.
2005 Evesham Wood Michelle had a chance to taste the 2005s from the barrel and couldnâ€™t stop raving. The wines are amazing and offer unbeatable value. Marquis Wine Cellars should be getting the wines in January.
Highly recommended from Evesham Wood: 2006 Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $29.90 (always the best value) 2005 Pinot Noir, Le Puit Sec, Willamette Valley, $42.90 2005 Pinot Noir, Cuvee â€œJâ€?, Willamette Valley, $52.90
Westrey The wines of Westrey are just starting to arrive in Vancouver so make sure to buy a couple bottles as soon as you spot then. They will definitely fly off the shelf. These wines can only be found at Marquis Wine Cellars.
If you happen to go to Oregon, make sure to seek out the wines of Cameron and Eyrie. They are certainly among our favourites.
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★ LIQUID ASSETS
by Larry Arnold
accounts for over 7% of the vineyards of Champagne and is one of the fastest growing brands in the market today. Deeply coloured and beautifully balanced with delicate strawberry, raspberry and toasty aromas that ease onto the palate and linger through the finish. Tight and restrained with understated elegance.
Mumm Cuvee Napa Brut Prestige NV California $23.00-27.00 When they ran out of land in Champagne the big houses headed west in pursuit of new frontiers to supply the world’s never ending thirst for good quality fizz. This beauty from California is all about new world fruit and old world wine making savvy. Rich and fruity with melon and apple flavours, fine balance and a purity that will make a believer out you.
Segura Viudas Brut Reserva NV Spain $16.00-19.00 Hugely popular and I don’t wonder why at this price! This easy-drinking Cava from Spain’s Catalan coast is made by the Champagne method using indigenous grapes. Light straw coloured, with a persistent stream of tiny bubbles and subtle bread dough and nut aromas. Soft and smooth with subdued fruit flavours and a light sweetness in the finish. Not as complex as Champagne but a refreshing alternative at a fraction the cost.
White Wine: Zind-Humbrecht Gewurztraminer Turckheim 02 Alsace $39.00-45.00 A gorgeous Gewurztraminer from the Alsace oozing with rich lychee nut, rose petal and musk aromas! Full-bodied with ripe fruit and exotic spice flavours, a seductive oily texture and a finish you can bet the farm on. To say that this white is penetrating is an understatement!
Nepenthe Tryst White 2005 Australia $19.00-23.00 Tryst is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon that is absolutely delicious! Powerful yet refreshing, with ripe pear, gooseberry and grapefruit flavours, balanced and richly textured with a fine cut of crisp acidity to put it all in perspective. Superb.
Red Rooster Riesling 2006 Okanagan $15.00-18.00 Bright and lively with heady floral aromas and a whiff of petrol! On the palate, this charmer has plenty of heft with concentrated fruit and mineral flavours and a slightly oily texture held in check with a nip of tangy acidity. Top notch.
Forca Real Rivesaltes Hors d’Age NV France $19.00-23.00 An unctuous, richly endowed dessert wine from Southwest France, powerful and lush, each sip bursting with exotic spice and citrus flavours and a finish that will keep you coming back for more. A revelation.
Red Wine: Chocalan Carmenere 2006 Chile $13.00-16.00 Do yourself a favour and run down to your nearest private liquor store and buy a case or two of this lush Carmenere from Chile. You will be glad you did! Well-balanced and elegant, with ripe berry, chocolate and spice flavours, soft velvety tannins and a finish that just keeps going! Excellent.
Telmo Rodriquez Vina 105 2006 Spain $18.00-20.00 Everything about this organically grown tempranillo from sunny Spain is appealing! Mediumbodied and nicely balanced with loads of red cherry, earth and smoke flavours, good weight and a long, chewy finish. Highly recommended.
Summerhill Cabernets 2003 British Columbia $23.00-26.00
WINES OF THE MONTH: Summerhill Cabernets 2003, Lanson Black Label NV Champagne and Zind-Humbrecht Gewurztraminer Turckheim 02 Wine paradox of the month: You say Vino Nero di Collina, I say Zweigelt! Venturi Schulze Vino Nero di Collina 06 Vancouver Island
price to be determined
Vino Nero di Collina is a red wine made from that much admired darling of the Austrian wine industy: Zweigelt. It is not Cabernet Sauvignon, but if you are a wine-maker trying to make a living on Vancouver Island, Zweigelt could be a dream come true. It is winter hardy, buds late and ripens early. It tends to over-crop, but through vigilance and a ruthless pruning regime, can produce wines of much charm and some complexity. Sounds perfect but the problem is the name. It’s a tongue twister and the common knowledge amongst the trade is that self-conscious, anilingual Anglo Saxon wine aficionados steadfastly refuse to buy anything that smacks of the German language. Having said dis about dat, da point may be moot! With a limited production of only 25 cases, this unctuous, pedal to the metal, Zweigelt, pronounced: ts-Vie-gellt, with a hard g, will be sold out before you can say Vino Nero di Collina. Black as pitch with sweet bramble, cinnamon, mace and dusty mineral aromas, good concentration, a lovely soft texture, vibrant fruit flavours and a long supple finish. Whew, now that was a mouthful, but no matter how you say it, I guarantee this paradox will not be cheap, but worth every penny!
Bubbles of the month: Duval-Leroy Brut NV Champagne $55.00-60.00 Family owned and operated, Duval-Leroy farms about 150 hectares of prime real estate, much of it located in the heart of the Cote des Blancs. This provides about 25% of the company’s annual grape requirements and helps maintain the quality and consistency of these fine champagnes. Big and bold with an attractive yeasty, toasty bouquet, great balance with lively citrus flavours, fine acidity and a soft creamy finish that just keeps going! Very tasty indeed.
Lanson Black Label NV Champagne $53.00-57.00
Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Rose NV Champagne $64.00-70.00
eturn flight, Victoria-Vancouver: $250.00, dinner, lunch and overnight accommodations: $500.00, tasting 23 vintages of Peter Lehmann Barossa Shiraz with senior winemaker, Ian Hongell: priceless! On a crisp autumn day this past October, in the Koi room at the Goldfish Pacific Kitchen in Vancouver, Peter Lehmann winery, winemaker Ian Hongell and import agent International Cellars hosted a vintage library tasting of three decades of Barossa shiraz. Beginning with the first wine produced by the winery in 1980, this amazing vertical was not meant to be a showcase of the best this man and his winery could produce but rather a vinous journey of a man, a winery, and a region. Peter Lehmann, a fifth-generation Barossan started his wine career working at Yalumba in 1947 but made his reputation at Saltram in 1979. Seagrams had just purchased the winery and with a looming grape surplus decided to dump many of the Saltram suppliers. It was Peter’s job to do the dirty work but instead he resigned and formed Masterson Vineyards, which later became Peter Lehmann Winery. Over the next few years against all odds the new upstart winery struggled but survived and soon flourished, producing
about 500,000 cases annually under the Lehmann label. Every vintage has a story to tell and this tasting bared all, showing the good, the bad and the ugly. Most of the wines through the 80’s were sadly past their prime but there really was not a bad wine in the lineup. The Lehmann style really started to reveal itself in the wines of the early 90’s, showing greater concentration with vibrant fruit flavours and texture. The wines have power but are not jammy. Today, Peter Lehmann Barossa Shiraz ($24.99) is balanced with explosive fruit flavours, a brawny backbone and a long rich finish. It is a wine for the moment but rest assured, will stand the test of time. —Larry P. Arnold
Lanson is one of the few Champagne houses to not put its new wines through malolactic fermentation to soften the acidity. The finished product leaves the cellar crisp and clean with plenty of fruit and a core of underlying acidity that needs time to soften. When given that time the flavours of this little brut can be sublime. Very refined with tiny bubbles, biscuit and apple aromas, a lovely creamy texture with great depth of flavour and a steely resolve. Highly enjoyable.
There is a lot going on in this blend of cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc. Medium-bodied with alluring earthy, berry flavours, nicely balanced with a firm structure and a warm spicy finish. Pyramid power at its physic best.
Ian Hongell (Peter Lehmann Winery) and Norman Gladstone (International Cellars)
With over 2,200 hectares of grapes at their disposal, this well managed growers co-operative
The EATBUZZ. café
| Drink News | 52
EAT MAGAZINE JAN | FEBRUARY 2008
Check out Treve Ring’s report on the wine and drink scene. You’ll find it on page 57 of the Digital Edition.
Complete Online Version available at
â˜… BEER GROUND
by Chris Pollon
Protecting Our â€˜Beer Securityâ€™ â€” One BC Hop Yard At A Time 2007 will go down in world beer history as a disastrous year for hops.
his summer, hop yards in England were under water for several weeks. The entire district of Kentâ€”one of the worldâ€™s most famous hop-growing regionsâ€”was literally submerged. Weather battered crops across Belgium, Oregon and New Zealand as well, leading to a world-wide shortage in this essential brewing commodity. â€œItâ€™s been an extremely difficult year for hop growing around the world, and itâ€™s because of climate change,â€? says Rebecca Kneen, co-owner of Crannog Ales, Canadaâ€™s only certified organic farmhouse brewery near Salmon Arm. â€œHops are a perennial crop, and compared to annual plants, it takes longer for such plants to adapt to sudden changes.â€? The connection between beer and climate change is not often considered, but in the wake of the 2007 hop shortage, some BC craft brewers are turning their attention to something Iâ€™ll call BC â€œbeer security.â€? Instead of relying solely on uncertain future harvests of hops from distant lands, two BC microbreweriesâ€”Crannog and the Nelson Brewing Company of Nelsonâ€” are starting to revive the once-great BC hop industry. â€œHops were grown all over BC historically,â€? says Kneen of an industry that began in the Victoria area in the 1860s. â€œBasically anywhere that is good for orcharding is good for hopsâ€Ś they used to be grown all up and down the Okanagan valley too, from Osoyoos to Vernon.â€? This is in addition to huge hop operations in Kamloops and particularly the Chilliwack area, which at its height in the 1940â€™s attracted over 4,000 seasonal harvesters each late summer. The BC industry died out in different areas for myriad reasons over time: production in the Saanich Peninsula was ravaged by pests; Squamish and Vernon operations succumbed to a crash in international market prices; and the Kamloops and Fraser Valley growers could ultimately not compete with hop-growers in Yakima, Washington and the Willamette Valley of Oregon. By 1997, BCâ€™s last great hop yard in Sardis was finished. Undeterred by the decline, Crannog today grows at least a quarter of its own hops organically on just over an acre of land. The organic brewery operates in tandem with the mixed organic farm on the same site, with both generating nearly zero waste. â€œOur major production is in Fuggles and Golding hops,â€? says Kneen, who says the plants typically grow 30 feet in a single season and require tall trellises to harvest. (She notes that the young hop shoots that rise each April make a wonderful salad green.) Kneen says news of the 2007 hops shortage has aroused a new and powerful interest in growing hops in BC â€“ in the last month more people have contacted Crannog about growing hops than in the last five years combined. â€œThereâ€™s been a gradual realization over the last couple of years, as farmers became aware of craft beer as a genuine market segmentâ€Ś theyâ€™re starting to say, â€˜if theyâ€™ve got small breweries in BC, maybe someone will buy the hops I can grow right here.â€™â€? While Crannog sought to grow their own certified organic hops from the beginning, Nelson Brewing found itself looking for new sources of hops leading up to its October 2006 move to 100 percent certified organic beer. Leading up to that transition, brewmaster Mike Kelly was tasked with sourcing organic hops wherever he could find them. It was a tough job, which forced him to go beyond distributors direct to British and New Zealand farmers. This December Nelson Brewing will start using a small quantity of local hops from a organic farmer in Enderby BC on a trial basis. Kelly says the organic farmer called him out of the blue to offer the hops; the brewmaster visited the farm, took samples, and liked what he saw. Crannog actually supplied the Enderby farmer with organic hop rhizomes to start his operation, as part of their altruistic commitment to promote local organic hop growing in BC. Moving forward, itâ€™s a commitment that Nelson Brewing shares. â€œI would like to use as many locally grown hops as I can, and thereâ€™s big potential for the industry in BC,â€? says Kelly. â€œIt just doesnâ€™t feel right to be certified organic and have to get our hops from half way across the world.â€? To learn more about growing and marketing hops in BC, visit the Crannog website at www.crannogales.com, where you will find a link to Rebecca Kneenâ€™s â€œSmall Scale and Organic Hop Productionâ€? manual.
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n December 1st more than 500 people stopped in to see the new store, located in the Tuscany Village at MacKenzie and Shelbourne. Tuscany Liquor Store offers a unique liquor store experience, bringing together familiar and speciality products, in a European-marketplace setting. The grand opening festivities kicked off with a special ribbon cutting and featured complimentary samples of food and wine and giveaways Managing director Marc Gaucher & Jason Gaunt throughout the day. â€œThe Tuscany Liquor store is now our Victoria flagship store,â€? says Metro Liquor regional manager Jason Gaunt, a certified sommelier, who oversees the day-to-day store operations of the new store. â€œOur design and construction teams have done amazing work, creating an exciting destination, and now we are eager to meet and get to know our new neighbours and showcase our huge inventory of products at government liquor store prices.â€? The locally-owned store, a partnership between Heidi Foord and Metro Liquor, features more than 4,500 square feet, a drop-down cathedral ceiling, Tuscan woodwork, metalwork and tile details, and a state-of the-art sound system. #101-1660 McKenzie Ave in Tuscany Village and is open seven days a week from 9am - 11pm. For more information visit www.metroliquor.com.
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— Compiled by Ceara Lorni
Where do you find inspiration when creating a new dish? Island Lisa Metz | Tita’s Mexican Restaurant | 250.334.8033 My own senses! Mmmmm. Maybe something I ate while traveling. Or in a restaurant the delicious scent of roasting garlic. A stunning cookbook photo. A scene in movie. A Mexican market stall. The feel of a ripe heavy winter squash. A fragrant cheese. The sizzle of meat hitting a hot grill. I could go on and but I'll leave the rest to you. Tim Cuff | Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn | 250.725.3100 My and the brigade’s inspiration, to be honest, comes from the farmers and their hard work. We ask them to deliver the best they can to us, the perfect lettuces, vegetables and fruits as they come in to season and we take it from there. We know that we only have a chance to use them for their short growing season, anywhere from a month to four months depending on the produce. I just love the fresh fruits and vegetables. We complement and enhance the flavors and let everyone taste the love. Now it is winter and we are all waiting for asparagus and morels to arrive once again for the beginning of spring but for now it is root vegetables and truffles, with lots of duck fat. Trent Mcintyre | Avenue Bistro | 250.890.9200 The usual suspects: my favorite cook books, my favorite flavors, internet and of course my wife; she's my biggest fan and my biggest critique. If I can't get it by her, then it doesn't fly. I also rely on my kitchen personnel who often have the most creative ideas.
Vancouver Richard Tyhy | Zin Restaurant and Lounge | 604.408.1700 I think right now, I am most inspired by my wife and her dietary restrictions. My wife, Mylene, is celiac and as a result I am constantly challenged with ways to make dishes for her that follow a fairly strict guideline as to what is and what is not acceptable for her to eat. This, as well as the ever growing number of allergies and dietary restrictions I encounter is partially what I base my culinary experiments on. As a result but unintentially, our new menu at Zin is almost all celiac and wheat allergy friendly. One of the benefits of cooking for someone who has to deal with these restrictions, I guess. It definitely makes my job more challenging.
Okanagan Jesse Croy | Summerhill Estate Winery |250.764.8000 Inspiration and creation go hand in hand for me. Inspiration occurs for me when my culinary senses are stimulated: sight, smell, sound and touch. These senses are closely tied to memory which in turn will draw experiences from a certain place, time or feeling of comfort. This is the fuel of creation for me. When I am creating a new dish I go to this special place and clear
EAT MAGAZINE JAN | FEBRUARY 2008
my mind and visualize the plate, and even the smell of the food cooking. Sometimes my most creative platforms occur the moment I awake when my subconscious is unpolluted with the stress of the day and my heart rate is calm. I truly believe food to be the most significant aspect of my purpose on this earth. Roger Sleiman | Old Vines Restaurant, Quails' Gate Estate Winery | 250.769.4451 It always falls back to what I enjoy eating. Most menus are made up of dishes which draw up memories of meals I've had growing up with, or other dining experiences. Cooking is about using all your senses and knowing what the season offers. When writing a menu and trying to combine flavours, you use your memory bank to help guide you. Sometimes you just know that certain items will go together. I've written menus where I did not try anything out until the menu was launched. You just know that certain dishes will work by feel and by previous sensory analysis. I'm not saying that this is the way you should write menus all the time, but I always use my gut feeling.
Victoria Corey Korenicki | Wren Restaurant | 250.598.9736 I try to combine the foods we loved when we were children growing up with today’s market of variety. I enjoy giving food or dishes a new life by incorporating the old with the new substitutions, and making it fun to eat and to try something we once wouldn't. Everyone should try something at least once, possibly three times. Anthony Hodda | James Joyce Bistro | 250.384.3332 Inspiration can come out of the blue apart from the usual local, fresh and seasonal aspects. I've found inspiration in a plate or ramekin I liked and that started the whole process. To me it's quite cyclical. There is an idea that is conceptualized, then the availability factor, cost etc. play a part. Thinking outside the box leads to dishes like elephant ears on a bun with suitcase sauce - and that’s just wrong. Corey Jessup | Vic’s Steakhouse & Bar |250.480.6586 There are many places I look for inspirations when creating new menus. Television, the internet and books are my main sources. The funny thing is when creating menus by these practices I always get a salivating palate. I then wind up leaving the office and head to the floor for food and idle chit chat with the staff about the ideas that are running through my head, and next thing you know a new dish is created. Markus Weiland | Markus’ Wharfside Bistro |250.642.3596 I get inspired by fresh seasonal ingredients. Inspiration comes by seeing, touching and smelling fresh produce.
Candace Hartley | Dunsmuir Lodge | 250.656.3166 The main inspiration for me is the products themselves; we get such a beautiful variety of local fish, meats and vegetables that it makes menu writing very interesting for me and my staff. We have a different chef’s tasting menu each night as well as the main dinning room menu and everybody in the kitchen contributes ideas. This is great experience for the apprentices in the kitchen and a good learning tool. Ben Peterson | Heron Rock Bistro | 250.383 1545 It could be a roadside stand stacked with butternut squash, a magazine photo of a glistening lamb shank, a local farmer explaining his epic victory over insects to bring me a pristine apple, or a particular flavour in a friend's retelling of a memorable dish. Sometimes it's nothing more than, "Hey, great meal!" from a satisfied customer or the way couscous rolls in your mouth, swollen to the height of textural enjoyment. The smallest details are the foundation of a chef's drive, and ultimately, satisfaction. Hamid Salimian (Executive Sous-Chef ) | Westin Bear Mountain Hotel | 250.391.7160 Inspiration comes from many different things for example, the daily weather; is it raining, snowing or sunny? Is it spring, summer or winter? Is it the mushroom man at the back door or fisherman calling to sell his freshest catch? Is it the farmers at the market proudly selling their beautiful vegetables? Perhaps it's when I read an article on the internet or talk about a cookbook. What I am saying is that inspiration comes from everything I do and what others do around me everyday.
ANNUAL AGM PICKS NEW PRESIDENT The Island Chefs Collaborative (ICC) has elected a new president for 2008. Past President David Mincey welcomed Ken Hueston to the position at their recent AGM. Hueston is a passionate supporter of Island cuisine and products and is the chef/owner of the award-winning Smoken Bones restaurant in Langford. The 20-member ICC is active with numerous projects including The Bastion Square Farmer’s Market and providing grants to help farmers purchase greenhousing, irrigation, fencing or other infrastructure items. On January 28th the Island Chefs' Collaborative will host their seventh annual Chef/Farmer meeting at Dunsmuir Lodge. Last year over 100 local chefs, food producers and industry professionals got a chance to meet, mingle, make business contacts and exchange information. Attendance is open to all Vancouver Island farmers, food producers and ICC members. The meeting begins at 3pm. Call Ken Hueston at 250.391.6328.
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AWARDS & ACHIEVEMENTS Vancouver’s Barbara Philip was named as Canada’s First Female Master of Wine (MW). She is the second Master of Wine in Canada and the sole MW in Western Canada, and one of four women who hold the designation in North America. Philip is a senior instructor and department head for the International Sommelier Guild. The Master of Wine is the world’s most respected designation in wine appreciation and the most difficult to attain. It is administered through the Institute of Masters of Wine in London, England and began as a qualification for the British wine trade in 1953. The MW is considered the most demanding of any of the professional wine qualifications and there are only 265 Masters of Wine in the world. In order to become a MW, candidates must pass intensive written and practical examinations and write a dissertation on a subject of their expertise. Philip’s thesis was to examine Pinot Blanc as a potential signature wine in the Okanagan Valley, Canada. Regarding her recent MW designation, Philip says, “I must say I enjoyed every step of the process and I look forward to helping others who want to embark on the same journey. It is exciting to be the first woman MW in Canada, but it will be even more satisfying to be the first of many.” Barbara has been a name on the Vancouver wine scene for the last 12 years, notably as one of Vancouver’s top sommeliers, at The Fish House in Stanley Park. In addition to being a senior instructor and department head for the ISG, she presently works as an educator and wine consultant, partnering with husband Iain Philip in their company Barbariain Wine Consulting. www.barbariainwine.com. Tom Stevenson’s Wine Report 2008 has named Dunham & Froese Estate Winery in Oliver as the #2 winery in Canada. The annual Wine Report is the essential insider's guide to every major wine-growing region in the world; this book offers dozens of Top 10 lists covering a broad range of topics, including Best-Value Producers, Greatest-Quality Wines, and Most Exciting or Unusual Finds. Stevenson is one of the leading voices in the wine world today, and has been writing about wine for nearly thirty years. In the Report, Stevenson relies on a team of regional experts that compile a variety of top 10 lists along with detailed information on vintages. BC expert Tony Aspler, put forward Dunham & Froese for the honour. The winery is owned by Gene & Shelly Covert and Crystal & Kirby Froese, and the wines are produced under the guidance of winemaker Kirby Froese. www.dunhamfroese.ca CedarCreek Estate Winery was recently
awarded the honour of Canada’s Red Wine of the Year for its 2005 Estate Select Syrah by Wine Access Magazine at the 2007 Canadian Wine Awards.Since the inception of the Canadian Wine Awards in 2001, CedarCreek has consistently ranked in the top ten with this year being no exception – they placed third in the running for Canada’s most prestigious wine honour. They won the title of Canada’s Winery of the Year 2002 and 2005. Tom di Bello is head winemaker and Gordon Fitzpatrick is the president. www.cedarcreek.bc.ca And this year’s Winery of the Year honours goes to Mission Hill Estate Winery. The winery is the major private vineyard owner in the Okanagan Valley, with 20 distinct estates. Dan Zepponi is president of Mission Hill, and John Simes is master winemaker. Of the 19 wines entered at this year’s competition, Mission Hill Family Estate was awarded 16 medals in the competition including Gold for its 2006 Five Vineyards Riesling Icewine. www.missionhillwinery.com. It’s not just the big guys that win these awards. Pender Island’s Morning Bay Vineyard & Estate Winery took a bronze medal for their 2004 Reserve Merlot at the Canadian Wine Awards. Morning Bay owners Barbara Reid and Keith Watt credit their grower, Sam Baptiste at Nk'Mip Vineyards, and consulting winemaker Tilman Hainle to help win them the honour. Watch for the release of their 2004 Syrah, a first for Morning Bay. www.morningbay.ca. Laughing Stock’s eye-catching Portfolio took Gold at the Canadian Wine Awards – the only BC Meritage to be awarded that honour. The classic Bordeaux blend can be ordered through select wine shops or at the winery – if there is any left by the time you read this. www.laughingstock.ca.
MOVES Church & State is up for sale – building and site only. This Vancouver Island showcase winery sources most of their grapes from their vineyards in Oliver. To be closer to the source, they’ve decided to move operations to their Coyote Bowl vineyard on the Black Sage Bench in spring 2008. So if you have a catchy name, a passion for wine and a few million dollars lying around, give them a call. www.churchandstatewines.com Easha Rayel is the new manager of The Strath Liquor Store. Peter Heemskerk is still working with The Strath on a contract basis while he starts his new position with Liquor Express as Director of Outlets. www.strathliquor.com
NEW RELEASES Saanich Peninsula’s Winchester Cellars released the first of their spirits last fall/winter. Eau de Viognier and Eau de Pinot were released to great success – and are available for purchase at the winery and also through the BCLS. The Eau de Viognier is elegant and aromatic. The Eau de Pinot is slightly more robust. The latter was made entirely from Island grapes – the first ever spirit to make this claim. Watch for gin to be released early in 2008. Ken Winchester is the owner and winemaker. www.winchestercellars.com. Osoyoos Larose has released their latest vintage of Le Grand Vin 2005. Le Grand Vin is a blend of the classic Bordeaux varietals: Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2005 vintage will be sold in select markets in Canada, as well as in the US, Japan, UK and France. Osoyoos Larose is the result of an innovative partnership formed in 1998 between Groupe Taillan of Bordeaux, France and Vincor Canada, and is overseen by Bordeaux-trained vineyard manager and winemaker Pascal Madevon. Joie's first red wine, PTG and first Reserve Chardonnay were released last fall. The PTG 2005 (20 case total production) will only be available at Marquis Wine Cellar for their BC release and the Reserve Chardonnay (100 case total production) is available for retail purchase at private retailers and to enjoy in restaurants. The PTG 2005 is our nod to the Burgundian, Passetoutgrain, a lively and traditional blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay. The Reserve Chardonnay was from select fruit from the minerally terroir of two vineyard sites in Okanagan Falls, fermented in premium French oak barrels. See if you can still hunt down a bottle (or find a friend that will share). www.joie.ca. Inniskillin Okanagan released the newest addition to its Discovery Series last fall: a 2006 Marsanne Roussanne, created by winemaker Sandor Mayer. Seventy-eight cases were produced in the inaugural 2006 vintage, which will be sold directly from the winery located in Oliver’s Golden Mile wine growing district. The Discovery Series was launched in 2005. The purpose of the series was to create wines that would be a discovery for the winemaker, of what varietals can be produced at the highest level of quality, and a discovery for consumers, of wines they may not have considered from the Okanagan Valley. Mayer has been instrumental in pioneering new grape varieties in recent years. The new Discovery Series Marsanne Roussanne joins CONT’D on the next page
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Canada’s first Zinfandel, first released in 2004, and then followed in subsequent years by Discovery Series-designated Malbec, a Pinotage, and a Chenin Blanc. www.inniskillin.com.
in-house, and each store has at least one certified sommelier on staff. #101-1660 McKenzie Ave. www.metroliquor.com.
He has a deep appreciation of wine – and a love of the wines coming from BC's Okanagan Valley. Black Hills Estate Winery is the producer of BC cult wine Nota Bene. www.blackhillswinery.com.
PARTNERSHIPS & MERGERS Vancouver headquartered Select Wine Merchants celebrated 25 years of success as a leading Canadian national wine & spirit import agency in 2007. To reflect its evolution and future changes of the industry the company has launched a new logo and website. Select Wines is the company that launched Concha y Toro in the mid eighties, and has thoroughly contributed to the constantly evolving wine industry. Successfully dealing with the fast evolving restaurant and retail scenes and the ever-changing consumer habits, it has turned itself from a small local importer into a national company that employs 60 people. Their new website that will offer resources to the trade and consumers to access comprehensive product and price information across Canada, news on the latest trends, releases and deals as well as essential wine education. Along with Concha y Toro, Select also represents Rothschild, St Hallett and Dr Loosen among others. Pierre L. Doise is the founder and President of Select Wines. www.selectwines.ca.
OPENINGS Glenn Barlow and Ame Depoli are now open, up and running at their new Oak Bay location. Oak Bay Village VQA wines uprooted and moved to a new, larger location at 2579 Cadboro Bay Road. Current hours are 10am to 9pm daily. Make sure you pop in and congratulate them on this long-awaited move. Meanwhile, the rezoning for their new Cook Street Village Wines location is ongoing. The temporary trailer that they have been calling their Cook Street home for the past couple of years has been moved for new developments. www.bcwineguys.com. Metro Liquor has opened their newest store in the new Tuscany Village at Mackenzie and Shelbourne. The store carries both familiar and speciality products, in a European-marketplace setting. The Metro Liquor regional manager is Jason Gaunt, a certified sommelier, who will also oversee the day-to-day store operations of the new store. The locally-owned store, a partnership between Heidi Foord and Metro Liquor, covers more than 4,500 square feet and features a drop-down cathedral ceiling, Tuscan woodwork, metalwork and tile details, and a state-of the-art sound system. The store is fitted with a sizeable open-air cooler for chilled white and sparkling wine and an enormous 800 square foot sub-zero cooler to chill a vast assortment of beer. The store carries a huge selection of BC and international wine, including, of course, a large Italian and Tuscan wine section. Metro Liquor is a growing chain of private retail liquor stores in British Columbia: two in Victoria (University Heights and the new Tuscany Liquor (co-owned by Heidi Foord)) and two in Kelowna (Sunset Drive and Central Park). All staff members are comprehensively trained
Vinequest Wine Partners has purchased the business interests of Black Hills Estate Winery, and have opened up possibilities for investment. For more information in becoming a part-owner in this Limited Partnership, visit www.winequest.com. Vinequest welcomed BCborn Hollywood actor Jason Priestley to its board of directors last fall. Priestley has made a significant investment into the ownership group and brings his extensive passion and knowledge of wine to the team. As a producer and director Priestly has been involved in several film and television productions, including directing a video for Canadian pop stars The Barenaked Ladies. One of his favorite roles is as the current co-host on "Hollywood & Vines” along with fellow Canadian celebrity Terry David Mulligan. The show (www.hollywoodandvinestv.com) is broadcast on the Star TV network, and follows the hosts as they visit wineries and restaurants in different wine regions around the world. A wine collector for nearly two decades, Jason has a collection of nearly 3,000 bottles in his personal wine cellar.
LAUREL POINT INN ROOMS MAKEOVER
Panoramic Penthouse Bedroom
EAT MAGAZINE JAN | FEBRUARY 2008
Executive One Bedroom Bath
Victoria’s Laurel Point Inn has been a favourite of visiting celebrities for some time but hadn’t seen a makeover in some time. With changes being made on the ground floor to the restaurant and lounge, refurbishment of the rooms has been keeping pace. The hotel, designed by award-winning architect Arthur Erickson, is a showpiece and is located in a prominent position at the entrance to the Inner Harbour. In 2006 Condé Nast Traveler rated the Laurel Point Inn as "One of Canada's Top 20 Hotels". 680 Montreal Street, Victoria, B.C., V8V 1Z8 Telephone: (250) 386-8721, www.laurelpoint.com
Panoramic Penthouse Suite
Inniskillin Wines Niagara and StormFisher Biogas have announced a partnership to create renewable electricity from the winery’s grape by-products. Inniskillin’s grape pomace, which is comprised of grape skin and seeds, will be used to generate clean, renewable electricity. About 1,000 to 2,000 tonnes of by-products that were previously destined to a landfill will be given a new use as a fuel. As such, the methane gas that is produced by the decomposition of grape pomace will now be captured and used to generate power for homes in the Niagara region. "This partnership is a win for residential power consumers, a win for Inniskillin, a win for StormFisher and a win for the environment," said Bruce Nicholson, senior winemaker at Inniskillin. The partnership demonstrates how sustainable business practices can benefit the environment and communities while improving the bottom line by giving new use to what was once a waste product. www.stormfisher.com www.inniskillin.com
Published on Dec 19, 2008