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Let the Voting Begin!! The 3rd Annual Exceptional Eats! Reader Awards So…it’s January …and time for the 3rd Annual Exceptional Eats! Reader Awards (EAT AWARDS). Time to chew the fat about all you find beautiful about local food and drink and let us know what you loved and didn’t like. So sit yourself down. Great to see you and hear your thoughts. Let me muddle you up a drink… EAT has a hankering for something juicy from you, dear reader. We crave the fat off the bone and the grizzle of what has moved, maddened and made you smack your lips in 2011. What deserves a standing ovation and what deserves a big boo and hiss. This is one fine culinary team sport. 2011 – Whaddya think? Is your ‘tried and true’, still your ‘go-to’? Or did you discover a new place? A new dish? A new cooking class? Did something, an event, shop or item really pique your sensibilities for local and lovely gastronomy? So have a think, share your voice, stand up and be counted. It is time to reflect, discuss, share and celebrate! Go to choose your region (Victoria & Islands, Vancouver*, or the Okanagan*), click on VOTE and be heard. It will take only a few minutes and at the end you will be rewarded by being entered into this year’s prize draw. *This year, the 3rd Annual Exceptional Eats! Reader Awards is casting its net wider by opening up the voting up to Vancouver and Okanagan readers. (Based on feedback from you.) Results will be published and the winners announced in our March/April 2012 issue. The past results and winners for the 2nd Annual EE Reader Awards can be seen online at

THE EAT AWARDS SPONSORS VICTORIA Aura Waterfront Restaurant & Patio (2 x $25*) Black Hat (Wagyu Tasting Dinner for Four $250*) Cafe Brio ($75*) Canoe Brewpub ($75*) Cascadia Liquor ($100*) Chateau Victoria (Dinner at Vista 18 and One Night in a Suite) Cook Culture ($200*) Flavour Restaurant (3-course dinner for two - $250*) 590-7787 Hotel Grand Pacific (One night stay and dinner for two in the Mark) Lifestyle Market ($50*) London Chef (2 Interactive Classes*) Lure at the Delta Victoria ($100*) Matticks Farm VQA ($30*) Niagara/Fairfield Grocery ($50* & Gift Basket) Ooh La La Cupcakes (3 x$30*) Root Cellar Village Green Grocer ($75*) Silk Road (Tea Cocktails & Mocktails Workshop - $250*) Slaters Meats ($25*) 250-592-0823 Village Butcher ($25*)

A big thank-you to all our sponsors for their generous prize donations

RULES: When you vote, you will be entered into the prize draw for a chance to win one of these wonderful prizes from our awards sponsors. • Only one ballot per person/computer address • Polls close at midnight on Sunday January 29, 2012 • Draw winners will be announced in the March/April 2012 issue of EAT.

VANCOUVER 131 Water ($50*) BC Wine School Voucher for the WSET level 1 Course* Browns Restaurant Group ($100*) Diner No.1 ($50*) Edible at the Market ($100*) eight 1/2 restaurant lounge ($50*) Joey Restaurants ($100*) Simply West Coast Sauces (10 sauces, t-short, ball cap) Teahouse and Seasons in the Park ($100*) OKANAGAN Bench Market ($25*) Hotel El Dorado (Romance Package) Joie Farm (Magnum of Rose) Medici's Gelateria ($20*) Okanagan Street Food ($50*) Pentages (Sauvignon Blanc 08, Gamy 2010, Merlot 2006) Poppadoms ($50*) RauDZ ($25* + 2 martini cars) Theos Greek Restaurant ($50*) Tree Brewing ($50*) Waterfront Wine Bar & Restaurant ($100*) *denotes gift certificate value JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2012






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EAT magazine january & february 2012

Main Plates Après-Ski Chow Down .....22 The Humble Egg . . . . . . .....28 The Exceptional Eats! ReaderAwards - voting begins ...2 Has Victoria become the burger capital of BC? We can’t get enough! Two new openings & another on the way . . . 46

Destination Comox Valley..26 Desination Sun Peaks . .....32 From Hen to the Table . .....34 Meet the Chef . . . . . . . . .....39

Tapas Concierge Desk . . . . . . . 08 Chefs’ Talk . . . . . . . .42 & 47 Epicure At Large . . . . . . .10 Food Matters . . . . . . . . . .11 Top Shelf . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Good For You . . . . . . . . .14 Get Fresh . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Reporter . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Eating Well for Less . . . .19 Wine + Terroir . . . . . . . .36 Wine & Food Pairing . . .38 Liquid Assets . . . . . . . . . .40 News from around BC . .43

Cover photography: Après-ski by Michael Tourigny


EAT is delivered to over 300 pick-up locations in BC including Victoria, Vancouver, Kelowna, The Islands and the Okanagan

Editor in Chief Gary Hynes Contributing Editor Carolyn Bateman, Online DRINK Editor Treve Ring Vancouver Contributing Editor Julie Pegg Okanagan Contributing Editor Claire Sear Community Reporters Nanaimo: Karma Brophy, Tofino | Uclulet: Jen Dart, Vancouver:: Anya Levykh, Okanagan: Claire Sear, Victoria: Rebecca Baugniet, Comox Valley: Eli Blake Web Reporters Deanna Ladret, Ellie Shortt, Susan Evans, Treve Ring Contributors Larry Arnold, Joseph Blake, Michelle Bouffard, Jennifer Danter, Jen Dart, Pam Durkin, Gillie Easdon, Jeremy Ferguson, Nathan Fong, Holland Gidney, Tracey Kusiewicz, Kathryn Kusyszyn, Anya Levykh, Ceara Lornie, Denise Marchessault, Sandra McKenzie, Michaela Morris, Julie Pegg, Genevieve Laplante, Treve Ring, Claire Sear, Solomon Siegel, Elizabeth Smyth, Adem Tepedelen, Michael Tourigny, Jenny Uechi, Sylvia Weinstock, Rebecca Wellman, Caroline West, Melody Wey.

Publisher Pacific Island Gourmet | EAT ® is a registered trademark. Advertising: 250.384.9042, Mailing address: Box 5225, Victoria, BC, V8R 6N4, Tel: 250.384.9042 Email: Website: Since 1998 | EAT Magazine is published six times each year. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. Although every effort is taken to ensure accuracy, Pacific Island Gourmet Publishing cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions that may occur. All opinions expressed in the articles are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the publisher. Pacific Island Gourmet reserves the right to refuse any advertisement. All rights reserved. JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2012


Welcome At EAT, we begin the year with a look back. The 3rd Annual “Exceptional Eats! Reader Awards”, also known as the EAT Awards, are not your ordinary awards—we come up with new categories and questions that reflect the year just past—and this year is no different. Cast your memory back to 2011 and fondly remember all the wonderful things you had to eat and drink. I’m sure there were plenty. New restaurants and shops, old favourites, a pleasant discovery or two (or three!) or perhaps someone gave you extraordinary service beyond the call of duty? Did you take a class? Spot a trend? We want to hear all about it. Vote for your favourites and celebrate all that is local in eating and drinking. Our guide to the region’s best. Something new in the awards this year. Due to reader feedback we are opening up the voting to Vancouver and Okanagan readers – each region will have their own set of questions. Also new at EAT is our revamped website. Publishing is quickly becoming a multi-platform discipline. We want to give you EAT’s trademark content whichever and whatever way you want it. Look for a modern, clean interface on the website with fresh daily content about restaurants, food news, food & wine events, cooking, chef profiles, recipes and, of course, wine, beer and spirits reviews. Click on over to—bookmark it and visit us often. I wish you all a Happy New Year and the very best in the months ahead. Good eating! —Gary Hynes, Editor




JANUARY | FEBRUARY l 2012 | Issue 16-01 | FREE |




*WINTER Food to soothe your winter hungar

EAT This Cover Join Jennifer Danter as she cooks the recipes (including the cover recipe) from this issue of EAT. This will be a 3-hour, hands-on cooking class starting at 6pm at Cook Culture Tuesday Jan 31st and Tuesday Feb 28th. For more information or to register for the class call (250) 590-8161 or visit

About Jennifer Danter I am Jenifer Danter. Chef by trade, currently a food writer and stylist. Whether I am cooking food, writing about it or styling wondrous feasts for a photography session, my pleasure comes from the joy of creating…..and eating. I am equally at home in the kitchen wielding a knife or a pen. I am drawn to cooking food and writing recipes which brings out the natural goodness of pure ingredients without being precious. I write the "Local Kitchen" column for EAT magazine and hope to share with you some tips and secretes behind the recipes that grace the cover each issue. Think of this as an informal dinner with friends. We'll cook together, swap stories and no one will walk away hungry!


Sponsored by Cook Culture and EAT Magazine.

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VICTORIA WINTER MARKET The Victoria Downtown Public Market Society continues to raise awareness, support and funds for the return of a permanent downtown public marketplace. Visit the Inner Courtyard of Market Square on Jan. 7th and 21st, and Feb. 4th and 18th to enjoy local food and music and support a great cause. VANCOUVER WINTER MARKET Held every Saturday, from 10am -2pm, at the Nat Bailey Stadium. This year, you can also bring your food scraps from home to recycle at the Food Scraps Drop Spot, sponsored by Recycling Alternative and Vancouver Farmers Markets. A donation of $2 per drop is appreciated. 10th DINE OUT VANCOUVER FESTIVAL Celebrate the tenth anniversary of Canada’s largest restaurant festival. Eat your way through 17 days of culinary events. Hundreds of restaurants will be offering threecourse dinners for $18, $28, or $38 (not incl. beverages, taxes or gratuity) per person paired with BC VQA wines or Kronenbourg beer. Make your reservations starting January 9th, 2012. ( CHOCOLATE MASTER SERIES WITH DAVID MINCEY AT COOK CULTURE Six hours of lectures, tastings, slides and interactive discussion split over two consecutive Wednesday nights. Learn about all aspects of the cultivation and processing of cacao into chocolate as well as take an in-depth look at the ecological impact of cacao farming on a global scale. Trace the path of chocolate through three thousand years of Western civilization and examine its impact on every facet of our modern lives. Most importantly, taste over thirty of the world's finest chocolates and learn to differentiate between country of origin, species of cacao tree and method of processing. Jan. 11 and 18. SPICES OF NORTH AFRICA AT LONDON CHEF Spices, such as saffron, cinnamon and coriander all have a firm home in southern European cooking. The food of North Africa - from Morocco in the western tip to the Red Sea in the east - is diverse and varied, by its sheer nature often very healthy, always vibrant, and inevitably fit for gathering and feasting. In this class you will get to look at, cook and eat four dishes from this fascinating region, discussing tradition, outside influences and the typical ingredients. Jan. 11 ( 7th ANNUAL VICTORIA WHISKY FESTIVAL Once again, the Hotel Grand Pacific is hosting the popular four-day Whisky celebration. Events include Jim Murray’s guided tasting of 2012 Whisky Bible winners, the Grand Canadian Club Dinner, masterclasses and tastings. Jan. 19-22. ( A TASTE OF ITALY A Taste of Italy” With Stuart Brown – Tuesday January 24th, 7pm, $35 ticket – wine & food tasting at Paprika Bistro 2524 Estevan Ave., 250-5927424 Tickets on Sale TASTE BC 2012 Taste BC is an experience of BC’s finest wine, beer and spirits accompanied by tasty fare from some of Vancouver’s best local restaurants. With excellent food and drinks, attractions include live music, door prizes, and a silent auction that rivals any other. All Taste BC’s proceeds benefit one of the province’s most vital medical institutions, the BC Children’s Hospital. Jan. 24, 4.30-7.30 pm. Tickets $49.99. SEEDY SATURDAY ON DENMAN ISLAND Carolyn Herriot will speak about her Zero Mile Diet and gastro-economy. Tim Jeffrey, a member of the newly formed Denman Seed Sanctuary and our Seed Savers' Study Group will also speak about exciting developments. Sat. Jan. 28, 10am-4pm at the Denman Community Large Hall.




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BIGLEAF MAPLE SYRUP FESTIVAL Visitors are invited to participate in mini-workshops facilitated by experienced maple syrup producers, including tapping demonstrations, presentations, and displays. This year's event features cooking with local maple syrup and maple foods will be available. The festival features a maple syrup competition with judging by celebrity chefs from Vancouver Island. The evaporator will be running all day so visitors can savour the warm maple aroma of sap and see how syrup is made. Feb 4, 10am – 4.30pm at the BC Discovery Centre in Duncan. ( JAPANESE NOODLES/HOT POT AT FRENCH MINT Japanese chef Akemi Akutsi teaches this flavourful noodle class at French Mint. Learn to prepare Sukiyaki, the quintessential Japanese hot pot; soba (buckwheat) noodles with vegetable tempura; transparent harusame (cellophane) noodles in a refreshing cold noodle salad; and made-from-scratch udon (wheat flour) noodles with homemade dashi broth. Feb. 21. ( CREATING A SUSTAINABLE FOOD SYSTEM ON VANCOUVER ISLAND UVic’s Department of Continuing Studies is offering a four-week course exploring the current and potential challenges Vancouver Island’s food system faces. Feb. 7 – 28. Visit the course calendar for more information. ( TALES OF THE COCKTAIL VANCOUVER Tales of the Cocktail is taking its show on the road once again for Tales of the Cocktail on Tour Vancouver. This February’s event will include three days of seminars, tastings, special events and more, each featuring some of the biggest names in mixology from around the world. Feb. 12-14, dive deep into the cocktail culture of Vancouver and sample a taste of what's in store at the 10th Anniversary Tales of the Cocktail this summer in New Orleans. ( DINE AROUND AND STAY IN TOWN VICTORIA Tourism Victoria and the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association’s 9th Annual Dine Around and Stay in Town will take place from Feb. 17- Mar. 16 this year. Participating restaurants will offer three-course menus for $20, $30, $40 CND per person and are all paired with BC VQA wine suggestions. This year select restaurants will once again offer celiac-friendly menus. ( SEEDY SATURDAY Feb 18, 10am - 4pm This community seed and garden show offers great networking and educational opportunities, and activities for the kids.pen-pollinated, non-GMO flower and vegetable seeds, native and specialty plants, new garden products, cooking demos speakers Victoria Conference Centre, Admission $7, under 12 free. Info 250.381.5323, . Also: ! Feb 4 at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre, from 10am – 3.30pm (Qualicum Beach, BC). 6th ANNUAL TEA FESTIVAL Hosted in the tea capital of Canada, the 6th annual event features tasting of teas that originate from around the world, tea-food selections, complimentary presentations on a variety of tea topics, and opportunities to purchase hundreds of teas, tea-related products, and exquisite tea wares. A Silent Auction will be offered. Proceeds to Camosun College Child Care Services. It’s a one-stop shop for all things tea. Feb. 18, noon – 5pm, Feb. 19, 11 am- 4pm at the Crystal Garden. (


The third annual Culinaire event will be held at the Crystal Garden on March 22 this year. This event provides locals with the opportunity to savour signature menu items and inspired dishes from an abundant selection of restaurants, lounges, pubs, cafes, specialty purveyors, and sip from a fine selection of local and regional wine, cider, and craft beer. Partial proceeds provide scholarship awards to the Camosun College Culinary Arts Program and a donation is made each year to the BC Hospitality Foundation. ( JANUARY | FEBRUARY


epicure at large — by Jeremy Ferguson

A Local Story. Local fisherman Tim Webster fills our dockside crab cage each Friday, where the crabs thrive in the ocean currents. Look out the window when you order and you’ll see our crew hurrying down the dock to get your dinner. Simple, natural and incredibly fresh. Just one of the stories that make up our plates each day.

Stunning Views Lunch • Dinner • Sushi • Sunday Brunch

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The Transcendental Lentil


The great peasant staple spans the globe.


Last year, at a popular restaurant in Rotterdam, we ate a terrine of pig head—tongue, snout, ears, cheeks—which was much better than it sounds. But, as important, it arrived atop a bed of tiny black lentils. “From France?” my wife asked, adding that the lentils were better even than the celebrated Puy. “No,” replied the chef. “They’re beluga lentils, like the caviar, and they come from Canada.” Indeed. From Watson, Saskatchewan’s Willow Creek Organic Grain Co. Because of their size, firmness and glossy skin, they resemble beluga caviar. Their flavour is earthy and delicate. And they’re sold in Victoria at Fairway Markets for the bargain price of $5.99 per 800-gram bag. The humble lentil has always surprised us. It’s more than the miracle bean du jour. In Provence, green lentils are de rigueur with roast duck. Cutting-edge chefs are dishing up the legume in all its colours—green, red, black, yellow—to diners who barely know lentils from lintels. Oh, that I should be lucky enough to come across foie gras with smoked lentils again. The lentil is, of course, a grenade of healthy properties: it fairly bursts with protein, carbohydrates, phosphorus, iron and vitamin B. People who eat for health have long understood this: if we eat lentils to stay healthy, healthiness keeps us fit to eat more lentils. The granddaddy of legumes, it has been cultivated for an estimated 13,000 years. It may have originated in northern Iraq, where carbon dating goes back to 6750 B.C. India claims it as its own but can’t prove it. History’s ancients—Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks—gobbled it up. Archaeologists found a lentil puree in a 4,000-year-old tomb at Thebes, a little something for the afterlife. Hippocrates recommended lentils served with slices of boiled dog for liver ailments. At the same time, he shunned them as “rough, creating gluey blood which stops up the liver, creates melancholia, fourth-day shivers and heavy dreams, and dulls the vision and the strength of the brain.” Oh, dear. Americans have traditionally run from lentils, probably because of their reputation for putting the gas in gastronomy and prompting inadvertent displays of levitation. Historically, a number of writers, starting with the Roman Catholic Saint Jerome, had detected in this flatulence certain erotic properties. This explains Herodotus’s observation that Egyptian priests sworn to celibacy were forbidden even to look at beans. India remains the world’s most avid consumer of lentils. In the desert country of Rajasthan, I’ve eaten with dirt-poor villagers who, with a handful of lentils, rice and spices, turned out a lunch to shame anything eaten by the highest-born pukka sahib. In Mother India’s kitchen, the lentil struts its stuff in a vast range of dishes from rasam, the clear Indian soup, to the famous dhals, those richly spiced stews that accompany almost every meal. In Canadian cities, Indian markets display heaping bins of lentils. Masoor dhal or peeled red lentils, known as Egyptian lentils in the Middle East, turn yellow during cooking and are the base for most everyday dhals. Chinese or brown lentils turn to mush on the stove. Green Puy lentils grown in France hold their shape and boast a distinct peppery flavour. A star in our kitchen is the sensationally rich dhal makhani made from black lentils and indecent amounts of butter and cream. The great peasant staple spans the globe. Italians regard it as good-luck fare and serve it with pork sausages and pig trotters—pork and beans with gusto—at New Year’s in Rome. A thick lentil stew seasoned with coriander, garlic and onion ranks as a gastronomic high in the mountains of Yemen. Moroccans turn out a lentil salad spiked with coriander, garlic, oregano and cumin. Closer to home, Oregon may have its truffle festival, but Pullman, Washington, hosts the National Lentil Festival in late summer. Lentil chili is served free, and events include a lentil cook-off and a lentil pancake breakfast. In these glum winter months, which come without a single holiday, what do we have to look forward to? Why, Valentine’s Day, a once-lusty pagan festival dressed down in Christian threads. My wife and I will celebrate with duck, a juicy, crispyskinned confit de canard. And with it, the prized belugas. My wife may turn out a ragout flavoured with garlic and salt pork or lentils braised in wine. I’ll be looking for love either way.

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Cheese Now & Then Updating some cheesy standards from the ‘60s & ‘70s. I grew up with Kraft processed cheese, which came singled, blocked, Whizzed, velvetized, and powdered and packaged with elbow macaroni. We struggling university students inhaled the five-boxes-for-a-buck Kraft dinner, or KD as it was nicknamed. Then we trotted off to “The Continent” and discovered wine—and cheese. European cheeses—devilishly creamy or strong and crumbly—underscored our nomadic diets and needed little more accompaniment than a hunk of bread, a rosy apple, a trickle of honey or a tangy pickle. My cheese ah-hah moment came about in Switzerland. I mucked in with other folk who were softening half-wheels of cheese in front of a fire, then scraping the runny cheese onto their plates. We placed the melted cheese on little potatoes, eating it with air-dried beef and wee pickled onions, then downed the lot with glugs of Chasselas, a crisp and fruity white wine. Raclette was the name of both feast and cheese. Between travels I took solace in aged Ontario cheddar (when I could find it) and tangy imported yogurt, which had made its North American debut. Eventually French and Italian cheeses began to hit European delis. So too did English cheddars and Stilton. Then there was the fondue mania of the 1970s. Fuelled by copious beers, we would swirl pieces of crusty bread impaled by skinny forks in molten Emmentaler as the fondue pot, over an open flame, teetered on its flimsy stand. It’s a miracle we didn’t torch our digs. (Today’s electric fondue pots and raclette grills are much safer than cooking over an open flame.) By the late ’80s and early ’90s, fine cheese shops were cropping up in cities everywhere. Handcrafted cheeses hit the farmers’ markets, and artisans were glad they didn’t need a distributor to pedal their wares. With all this lovely cheese around, professional and home cooks have been updating a few cheesy standards of the 1960s and ’70s over the past few years. Heading up the playlist is good old mac and cheese. KD may have popularized the dish, but American Food Writing includes an entry by Sarah Rutledge (author of the 1847 cookbook The Carolina Housewife) for an “Italian receipt” for Macaroni à la Sauce Blanche (interesting since sauce blanche is a French term). Partially boiled macaroni is tossed with a roux of butter, flour, milk and cream and “set on the fire until it becomes thick,” then layered alternately with lashings of Parmesan cheese, more sauce and baked in a “quick oven.” The method closely approximates Martha Stewart’s mac and cheese. Popular of late is lobster mac and cheese. Recipes only vary the degree of decadence. They may include not only chunks of fresh lobster but also designer pasta such as cavatappi, whipping cream and cheeses such as fontina, taleggio and parmigiano. A fillip of truffle oil kicks the whole thing way over the top. Next up, grilled cheese. What better testimony for this childhood favourite than a food truck devoted exclusively to the ultimate comfort sandwich? Enter “Mom’s Grilled Cheese Truck,” which is parked weekdays in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery. Cindy Hamilton stuffs artisan breads with cheddar, pepper Jack and havarti, and doles the gooey sandwiches out to a steady lineup of takers Monday to Friday. Add-ons include tomatoes, red onion, pickles and ham. At home, add a sophisticated twist with grilled asparagus and smoked duck, or snack on Dutch “toasties”—thin grilled cheese sandwiches napped with a mayo-mustard-honey dip. Not trendy (yet!) is my favourite spin on grilled cheese, Welsh rarebit—made with English cheddar (such as Leicester) and ale. An incredibly easy version goes like this: grill or run under the broiler four large, thick slices of crusty bread. Mix 6 oz of grated cheddar with a few finely chopped sage leaves and spring onions, 1 tsp. dry mustard powder, 2 oz. ale, a beaten egg and a generous dash of Worcestershire. Divide and spread equally among the four slices of toast. Lightly dust with cayenne pepper. Grill or broil again until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly. A couple of rashers of smoky bacon are a nice add-on. Serve immediately along with a green salad and more ale. JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2012


top shelf — by Sylvia Weinstock

Foods with Pizzazz and All That Szasz


Restaurateur George Szasz launches Szasz Sausage & Fine Foods.

Rebecca Wellman






George Szasz, chef/owner of Fernwood’s popular Stage Wine Bar, recently introduced a line of artisanal sausages, preserved lemons and marinated olives with attractive new packaging under the Szasz Sausage & Fine Foods label. His delicious handcrafted products, previously sold under the Stage brand, are now more widely available on Vancouver Island and the Mainland. Szasz’s Arrabiata, Hungarian and Pork-A-Leekie pork sausages and North African Merguez, Madras-Style Curry and Rosemary & Preserved Lemon chicken sausages are available in Victoria at Stage (seven nights a week from 5 to 10 p.m. at 1307 Gladstone Ave.), The Market on Yates, Aubergine, Slater’s, The London Chef and through Shops that carry his lemon and olive products are listed at Szasz’s duck confit is available at Slater’s under the Stage label. This new venture links Szasz to his heritage: his father and grandfather were sausage makers in Hungary, and his parents owned Szasz, a Vancouver restaurant, pastry house and deli that was a fixture on South Granville for 35 years. Szasz turns out several hundred pounds of sausages daily at Stage, a process that “transports me back to making and linking sausages with my father, listening to him talk about his youthful adventures in the ghetto in Hungary near the end of World War II,” Szasz confides. After making the gluten/dairy/preservative-free sausages with Cowichan Valley chicken or Port Alberni pork, herbs from his garden and exotic spices, Szasz Cryovacs, labels and freezes them at Stage. His Pork-A-Leekie sausage (a takeoff on cock-a-leekie soup) is a tribute to his mother’s Scottish ancestry. “Customer feedback from restaurants that serve the sausages has been phenomenal,” says Szasz, who sells sausages in bulk to restaurants. To make the olives, Szasz infuses Cerignola, Picholine, Niçoise, Moroccan and Turkish split green olives with his signature spice blend. He brines quartered lemons for a month to make preserved lemons, a traditional Middle Eastern condiment. “Slip the rinsed rinds, butter and herbs under chicken skin before roasting, or make a mignonette for raw oysters with finely diced rinds, cucumbers, shallots and white balsamic vinegar,” Szasz suggests. “The lemons are my secret ingredient. They make the food at Stage unique by adding a citrus note and another dimension of flavour. Diversifying this way, by making products Stage is famous for available to consumers, is very gratifying.”

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Share your story and win! Victoria: University Heights Mall, Tuscany Village, Brentwood Bay | Kelowna: Downtown Cultural District | JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2012


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Three unusual foods to expand your culinary repertoire. Do you find yourself preparing the same meals for months on end? Many of us stick to the familiar and reliable in our culinary endeavours. Unfortunately, that’s the fast track to apathy and boredom—two guests that should never be invited to dinner. You can easily ban them from your table by becoming more flexible and adventurous with food. Here are three rather uncommon, yet healthy foods that first roused my curiosity, then delighted my palate. Sunchokes Often referred to as Jerusalem artichokes, a sunchoke is a tiny tuber resembling a knobbly potato. Native to North America, they were brought to Britain in the 17th century by Samuel de Champlain. Because their taste is somewhat reminiscent of an artichoke heart, the British initially christened them “Canadian artichokes.” Their tiny size belies their nutritional stature—they contain ample amounts of vitamins B6 and C, iron, riboflavin, calcium and phosphorous. In addition, they’re loaded with inulin, a carbohydrate that promotes the growth of friendly bacteria in the large intestine. If that’s not enough to recommend them, consider this: they’re low in calories, a mere 60 calories for a four-ounce serving, and they’re delicious. I found their crisp, delicate flesh, when eaten raw, similar in taste and texture to jicama—enjoyable but not overwhelming. However, roasting them drizzled in olive oil brought out their sweet, almost nutty flavour and made me an instant fan. (Note: no need to peel the knobbly little things – although some people do prefer to peel them for soups.) If you’d like to join the fan club, visit the Root Cellar or Market on Yates—both carry grown-in-B.C. organic sunchokes. You can also find Chef Tips on how to use sunchokes at Search: sunchokes Coconut Palm Sugar It seems everything coconut is au courant—from coconut water to coconut flour. So when I first spotted coconut palm sugar on local store shelves I wasn’t surprised. What did surprise me, however, was its taste. It does NOT taste anything like coconut—and in fact is not derived from the coconut. It is derived from the sap of the thick, flowercovered, fleshy stem of the coconut tree. The tree is tapped and the sap is collected, boiled and concentrated to form a granulated sugar, which looks and tastes remarkably like brown sugar. However, unlike brown sugar, coconut palm sugar is low in carbohydrates and ranks very low on the Glycemic Index; a ranking system for carbohydrates that measures their immediate effect on blood glucose. It is also surprisingly nutritious, providing impressive amounts of potassium, B vitamins, vitamin C and iron. There’s more good news—you can use this tropical sweetener in precisely the same way you’d use sugar. It produces delectable cookies, cakes and desserts that won’t play havoc with your blood sugar levels. Intrigued? You can purchase the sweetener in bulk or bags at Lifestyle Market’s Douglas Street store.




Kangaroo Meat You’re probably raising your eyebrows as high as I did when I first spied kangaroo meat in the freezer section at Lifestyle Markets. But if you’ve sworn off meat for health, rather than ethics, this is one unusual food you might consider purchasing. Kangaroo meat packs a nutritional punch that’s hard to dismiss, regardless of the warm fuzzies the animal inspires. High in protein and loaded with B vitamins, iron and zinc, kangaroo meat contains almost no saturated fat. A 100-gram serving supplies a mere 1.3 grams of total fat and only .3 grams of that is saturated. The remaining gram consists of heart healthy monounsaturated and long-chain omega 3 fatty acids. Its impressive nutritional credentials were enough to persuade me to ignore the “weirdness factor” and give kangaroo a try. Though some people compare its taste to venison, I found it actually closer to beef in taste. One caveat: because the meat is very lean, it’s best cooked to medium-rare to medium. Longer on the grill or in the oven will dry it out. If you can’t hop over to Lifestyles for a few patties, you can buy kangaroo meat directly from Hill Foods in Coquitlam, Note: For those who prefer to buy local, the kangaroo meat currently available is wild harvested and transported from Australia.


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get fresh COOKING BY THE SEASON — by Sylvia Weinstock

A Sweet Treat

Beets can’t be beat as a winter staple. I’ve never understood people who say they don’t like beets. What’s not to like? It’s like saying, “I don’t like candy.” Who doesn’t like candy? And who wouldn’t like candy that is actually a nutritious vegetable (packed with vitamin C, vitamin A and folic acid), a vegetable so versatile it can swing from borscht to dessert with ease. These chard relatives are juicy, tender and sweet, especially the baby ones. Plus, they are beautiful. Red beets are my favourite of all colours: burgundy. Gold beets are like a serving of sun on your plate, and don’t get me started on adorable candy-striped Chioggia beets. Beet greens are even higher in antioxidants and nutrients than beets. Here are some hot tips for beet lovers and especially for those who think they don’t like beets. Caramelizing beets by roasting them ratchets up their sweetness to the nth degree. Roast unpeeled baby beets until they are tender when pricked with a fork. Peel after roasting. Drizzle sliced roasted beets, feta and walnuts with anise/orange juice vinaigrette made with walnut oil. Serve in individual radicchio or endive leaves. Or toss sliced beets with chopped carrots, parsnips and fennel bulbs in apricot jam, and then roast for a sweet veggie feast. I’ve been making Rodney Butters’s Root Vegetable Torte since 1996, when Butters was chef at the Wickaninnish Inn. This elegant dish is made by layering thin slices of rutabaga, yam, onions, beets, potatoes and carrots, alternated with layers of ricotta, in a round cake pan. The cut wedges of the torte (baked at 325°F for about 40 minutes) are a mouth-watering rainbow of colours. Cabbage and beet borsht is the quintessential warming winter meal. Sauté onions, garlic, cumin seeds, 2 cups chopped cabbage and a coarsely grated potato. Add 2 cups broth, 1/2 cup water, 4 large cooked, shredded beets with their cooking liquid, a dash of red-wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Boil and then simmer the soup, partially covered, for 25 minutes. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and garnish with minced fresh dill. For a stunning winter salad made with seasonal goodies at their peak of flavour, combine a pound of fork-tender sliced beets with 2 navel oranges and 2 blood oranges (peeled and sliced in semicircles) and 2 trimmed, cored fennel bulbs cut in paper-thin slices. Toss in a sherry vinegar/olive oil vinaigrette, and serve on a bed of arugula, watercress, endive or radicchio. Preserve pickled beets for use as a year-round condiment. Boil and slip the skins from 6 scrubbed, trimmed beets. Slice and pickle them in 2 cups of sugar, 2 cups cider vinegar, 2 cups water, a dash of salt, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1 tablespoon allspice and 3 tablespoons pickling spice. Beet ice cream? Why not? You’ll find Michael Symon’s yummy Spicy Beet Ice Cream recipe at Beet mousse? Check out for a fabulous recipe with cardamom, served in chocolate cups. Or go to for a scrumptious Chocolate Beet Cake recipe.

1 0 0 % O R G A N I C | F A I R T R A D E | L O C A L LY O W N E D | S U S TA I N A B L E

Since 1992 we’ve been creating the world’s finest, freshest, organic teas, skin and body products.

Beet Halva This delicious veggie halva, a variation of carrot halva (gajar halva), is perfect for Valentine’s Day. 1 cup coarsely grated beets 3/4 cup sugar 2 1/2 cups milk 1/2 teaspoon of green cardamom seeds 10 Cashews (halved) 1/2 cup ghee* In a medium-sized pan, mix beets, sugar and milk and cook for 30 minutes over low heat, until thickened. Add cardamom seeds, cashews and ghee, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes thick. Pour into a greased, heart-shaped mold, cool and chill in the fridge until firm. Or

spread the mixture in a shallow tray and cool, then cut into square pieces. *To make ghee, place 2 pounds unsalted butter in a heavy saucepan over very low heat for an hour. The milk solids will settle to the bottom and will begin to turn brown. The impurities will float to the top and form a crust. Allow the ghee to cool slightly, then strain it through cheesecloth into a sterilized glass jar (discard the crusty bits) and let it set. Ghee will last up to six months when refrigerated in an airtight container.

Join us online or sign up for our e-news to be the first to know about our birthday celebrations throughout 2012. SilkRoadVictoria


It all started in Victoria’s Historic Chinatown, with a passion for premium quality ingredients and exceptional customer service, an eco-friendly approach and a commitment to our community values which continue to be just as important to us today as they were when we started. Thank you for all your support over these years. We are looking forward to celebrating with you! 1624 Government St. Victoria Chinatown JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2012



The Black Hat by Bistro 28 | 1005 Langley St., Victoria | | 250-381-2428 Dusk. My heels have the effect of a tight drum roll on the cobblestones as we approach Langley and Fort Street. The signage, a simple bowler hat, beckons me not so much to the 1850s (British birth-epoch of this particular chapeau), but to a new eatery, and chef/owner Sam Chalmers’ second venue. What a treat. My friend heaves the thick black door open and we enter The Black Hat. The Black Hat opened in downtown Victoria at the end of August 2011. This also marked the second anniversary of Bistro 28, Chalmers’ first restaurant in Oak Bay, and he felt it was time to expand and bring a new neighborhood haunt to downtown Victoria. This three-tiered eatery, situated in a restored Rattenbury building, seats 85, but with low lighting, salvaged wood tables and a bright, stainless-steel, open kitchen, this large space offers up a warm, cozy, yet sprawling, venue. And as Chalmers says, “Black hat doesn’t mean black tie.” It’s a place for friends to meet, couples to celebrate, singles to pull a stool up to the bar for dinner, and large or small parties to enjoy each other’s company with good food and wine. We order cocktails: an Old Fashioned and a Sazerac, and start the discussion of what to order. A lovely way to settle in for the evening. The menu is expansive, but carefully composed, including a raw selection, small plates, salads, mains, charcuterie, a Wagyu Tasting, and desserts. I want to try so many items! There’s the Beef Tataki served on a Himalayan salt plate. I am drawn to the Torchon of Foie Gras, served with cava gel and brioche points. And I vow to acquaint myself with the Pan Roasted Halibut with spot prawn and chorizo peperonta on my next visit. Of note is the Wagyu Beef that figures prominently on the menu. This is a richly marbled beef from Wagyu cattle once only found in Kobe, Japan. Sam Chalmers brings in the Wagyu from Australia. It is sometimes referred to as the “white” beef, as it is so heavily marbled that it looks like it is covered in snow. A four-course Wagya Tasting Menu for four, with wine pairings

suggestions, is available. We opt for the Scallop Tartare, the House-smoked Duck Ham, the Roasted Pork Belly and, finally, the Blood Sausage. The Scallop Tartare—fresh and hand chopped with shallot, capers, preserved lemon, egg yolk and parsley—is exquisite, with a slight heat, perhaps from the shallot? The scallops are tender and beautifully enhanced by the accompaniments. It was divine. The House-smoked Duck Ham is served with roasted chanterelles and pesto flat bread. The dish is very good, the flavours working together and the pesto, never subtle, not too over-whelming. The Roasted Pork Belly is crispy… with housemade kim chi, pickled cucumber, apple, pea shoots, sunflower sprouts and roasted sesame seed. The Blood Sausage piqued our palate and curiosity. Blood sausage is made from cooking blood, or dried blood, with a filler. The Black Hat’s blood sausage was pork blood and the filler was mostly breadcrumbs. “I’ve never sold one of these,” confides the server. Those who shirk from this dish, perhaps because of its name alone, truly rob themselves…it was glorious. The blood sausage was rich and sweet with the gorgeous, comforting, soft texture of iron-rich, sopping black breadcrumbs. After all this, yes, we ordered dessert and a sherry. Who could resist the S’mores— intense, rich and arresting—or the sour cream ice cream—fantastic. The Black Hat offers an extensive wine list by the glass, thanks to the Fine Wines By The Glass System, so it’s easy to pair the perfect glass with each dish. The Black Hat is a bold addition to Victoria. I look forward to returning and checking out the ambience and view from another angle, perhaps the bar—so many places to hang my hat when I drop by for a bite and a glass. Weds-Sunday 5pm-12am. —By Gillie Easdon

“the ’sweet spot’—that brief period of time when meat, fruit, chefs, athletes, and kimchi are at their peak.” —David Chang, momofuku 16


Rebecca Wellman

Rebecca Wellman

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Bella Montagna’s Pizza con Pollo Arrosto (roast chicken) and Italian Salami with Caramelized onion, Gorgonzola, mozzarella

Bella Montagna | 1999 Country Club Way, Victoria | 250.391.7152 | On a sunny day in early winter, I wove my way up Bear Mountain to see the changes that have been made at the Westin Hotel. I had a lunch appointment with Executive Chef Iain Rennie of the new Bella Montagna, the hotel’s main dining room (replacing The Copper Rock Grill). Bella Montagna (Italian for beautiful mountain) seats 65, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and has expansive views over hilly forests and Mt Baker in the distance. It feels upscale without being ostentatious. The room has been warmed up with clean, new wall cladding, fresh chair upholstery and deep carpeting. The wall-to-wall windows bring in the changing seasons and light. Call it well-dressed country club, perhaps. “When we sat down to develop the concept for the new restaurant, we knew wanted a place that Langford locals would be comfortable coming to”, says Rennie. “Going Italian seemed like the natural choice, since everyone loves Italian food.” Chef Rennie and restaurant manager Adam Walker oversee the restaurant. Rennie is well known to British Columbians. He grew up in Parksville, the son of Vancouver Island University culinary director Alex Rennie. He studied cooking at VIU, and then went on to cook at three Fairmont hotels—the Empress, the Airport, and the Waterfront— before returning to Victoria and the Westin Hotel. Asked about his cooking style, Rennie says, “Freshness, flavor, and presentation underpin my cooking style. Plus, I am always working to create new concepts like the gelato station.” Rennie is also big into mentoring cooking students and each month hosts a dinner where guests enjoy the dishes of two competing culinary students. This popular series is often sold out months in advance. Rennie’s menu leans towards a lighter, more modern approach, although portions are good-sized and certainly not stingy, and prices have been lowered—always a good thing. The menu is divided into antipasti, pasta, pizza and main plates. Appetizers run from soups like mussels with fennel, pork belly, black olive and fingerling potatoes to a bowl of pan-seared calamari with cannellini beans, spicy chorizo and sun chokes that, despite its lusty sounding name, is surprisingly delicate and refined. Main courses go to big flavours with an Italian bent. Find seafood risotto, rib steak with cipollini onions, and slow-braised short ribs with a pine nut crust and truffle, Parmesan & sweet potato cake. The pizzas are also a big hit. In the not too distant past, a real pizza was hard to come by in Victoria, but now there are plenty of places that know how to make a good pie. Add one more to the list. Rennie uses honey from the bees kept on the property


erfectly placed on rich South Okanagan farmland, Tinhorn Creek overlooks the old gold mining creek that is the winery’s namesake. We are environmental stewards of 150 acres of vineyards: “Diamondback” on the Black Sage Bench, and “Tinhorn Creek” on the Golden Mile Bench. Both provide us with the fruit to craft the superb, terroir driven wine that we’re known for. Our top tier Oldfield Series represents the finest of each vintage.

Reporter cont’d on the next page JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2012


reporter cont’d from the previous page

— by Eliz


to make the pizza dough. Each thin crust pizza is presented in a free form, rectangular format served on a wood plank. It arrives hot and crusty with just enough topping to give flavour but not to outshine the crust. Pizzas will easily serve two for lunch or one as a main course. I loved the Italian salami, caramelized onions, Gorgonzola, mozzarella and fresh cracked black pepper version. For dessert, couples and groups gravitate towards the Gelato Station. This is a show not to be missed. A cook wheels a cart up to your table. A light (milk-based) crème Anglais goes into a large bowl. Liquid nitrogen is then poured in and the cook stirs vigorously, the liquid nitrogen “smoke” bellowing out of the bowl as if from a witch’s caldron, until the ice cream freezes and reaches a smooth, creamy consistency. Diners can choose to top their gelato with Kahlua, Grand Marnier, white chocolate macadamia, Oreo graham cracker and/or caramelized almonds. The coup de grâce is a final anointing with your choice of chocolate or caramel sauce. Verdict? Bella Montagna brings refined, modern Italian dining to the suburbs in a posh atmosphere, but without the high prices. It delivers in both quality food and thoughtful wine selections. Chock one up for Langford. —Gary Hynes

Rebecca Wellman

Page Point Bistro |4760 Brenton Page Rd., Ladysmith | 250.924.1110 |






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Karma Brophy


This past summer I discovered the magic that is the Page Point Bistro. What struck me then is that everything is wonderfully authentic to its location. The west coast feel of the property, the spectacular westward ocean-view, al fresco dining on the large convivial patio and the seasonality of the local fresh-focused menu were also suited to a perfect summer dining destination. Then one evening in December I received an unexpected invitation and with my preconceptions all in a twist I ventured into the cold dark winter night to return to the bistro. The trip from Nanaimo to Ladysmith is quicker than expected and the The olive-encrusted Albacore experience well worth the journey. The airy, bright dining room of summer is now a warm, cozy oasis with a blazing fireplace and lit-up Ladysmith twinkling in the windows. There are succulent smells drifting from chef Chris Dean’s (formerly of the Juniper Hotel Banff) kitchen and owners Robert and Sandy Wilkinson are welcoming. Even some locals join in the greeting with a smile from their seats at the bar. Our server Barry Senini is a long-time hospitality personality in the region and a wizard at adding comfort to the warmth. All this and we haven’t even tasted dinner yet! The bistro’s dedication to Slow Food philosophy and regional foods is evident in a menu that is woven with descriptions of local producers and their wares. I dine from the regular menu and my companion from the daily Fresh Sheet, but we agree to steal bites from each other’s plates. Soon hot piping seafood chowder arrives with its glorious creamy texture and smoky heat. It is one of those dishes you don’t want to end as it gets tastier bite after bite. Next we share the lovely light crunch of the calamari and a standout salad stack of spinach that is delectably drizzled with pear gastrique, and then topped with warm Hilary’s Youbou Bleu and crispy morsels of pork belly. Next the seared steelhead trout is deliciously delicate and a plate of olive-encrusted Albacore medallions with roasted capers, fennel and green beans leaves a lasting impression (I can’t stop thinking about it!). We have just enough room for a perfectly seared duck breast with a rich sour cherry sauce and the creamy comforts of herbed risotto. Dessert of chocolate terrine with raspberry coulis and hazelnuts is light yet rich enough to comfortably finish this memorable feast. With all preconceptions now dashed I’m pleased to share this best-kept dining secret on the mid-island. – Karma Brophy

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Deep India Catering | 1837 Feltham Rd., Victoria | 250-477-1741 |

Karma Brophy


Rise above the “January Blues” with a new outlook and great new menu.

Deep India is deep inside a community that might surprise you: Gordon Head. It’s not actually a restaurant – it’s a garage behind a suburban home, a garage that has been converted into an industrial kitchen, staffed by the married team of Amarjit, who trained at Camosun, and Kulwinder, who trained in India. This is a catering business. You phone two days ahead with your order and come by to pick it up, or they’ll deliver for a big catering job, such as the Indian weddings they sometimes do. This is an unusual inclusion for this column, but my editor and I decided to share this information with you because both the flavour and the prices are genuinely good. This food also freezes well. Get a large tray of, say, lamb masala, and divide it up for easy yet exotic weekday dinners. What else can you get? A personal favourite is the shai paneer, a dense, cubed version of cottage cheese with a gentle, buttery flavour, served in a spicy tomato sauce with a top note of fenugreek. The mixed vegetables, a profusion of okra, cauliflower and carrots, has a sprinkling of green lentils and a robust spicing that is definitely sweat-inducing. A mellowing counterpoint is the butter chicken. What makes Deep India’s butter chicken stand out is that the herbs step forward in the flavour more than the cream, creating a dish that is more delicate than heavy. In contrast, the dal is dark, earthy and rendered complex with three types of beans: kidney, mung and black lentils. The vegetarian samosas are a standout. Moist chunks of potato are deliciously flavoured with garam masala, all encased in a flaky pastry. These, too, freeze and reheat well, as long as they are reheated in the oven and not the microwave. Samosas are a dollar apiece (compared to $1.60 at my local grocery store). I plan to stock my freezer for easy dinners and party offerings. For a recent party, I chose “regular” trays from the website, which serve 10: butter chicken for $40, palak paneer for $35 and mixed vegetables for $30. This meant that for $105, I served 10 adults for an easy Friday night “Warming Up Winter” party, and, in fact, had some left over. Please, adventurous readers, be careful about one thing: at the time of publication, the Deep India website was not up-to-date and was offering individual serving sizes and a drop-in take-out menu that are not actually going to be offered. Until the site is updated, it’s wise to phone to confirm their offerings; I can assure you it will be worth the effort. Cont’d on the next page

Reservations Recommended

Serving V Victoria ictoria Since 1997







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1001 Wharf Street @ Broughton Reservations: 250-380-2260 www JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2012


Canoe | 450 Swift St., Victoria | 250-361-1940 | Canoe’s new “Farm to Plate” feature brings customers a daily local, organic and sometimes even artisanal dish. The lunchtime price for this special, both weekdays and weekends, is only $10.99. I was initially excited by these glamorous-sounding dishes: braised Peace River natural lamb in pale ale broth with heirloom carrots, little potatoes, local braising greens and gremolata; and Oceanwise seafood bowl with wild salmon and Pacific cod, Humboldt squid, local artisan chorizo, smoked tomato broth and grilled Wildfire bread. In contrast, I thought Monday’s offering of buttermilk-fried Farmcrest Farms chicken with fries, slaw and cornbread sounded much less interesting because it’s, you know, just fried chicken. But it was a Monday so I ordered it and have been singing the dish’s praises ever since. And I have it on good authority that it will still be offered on Mondays when they adapt the seasonal menu. What makes it a cut above? This free-range chicken is plump and juicy with a crisp and golden coating that leaves a pleasing buttery taste in the mouth with each bite. Fries are served with homemade ketchup that’s sweet with apple, not sugar. The coleslaw, like the chicken, is the best I’ve had in town. Its tartness is not from an overdose of vinegar, but from the much more pleasing taste of green apple, and even the grated carrots in the slaw are from Saanich Organics. The slab of cornbread is sweet until it’s spicy—flecks of jalapeño wake up the mouth. You can get a fried chicken platter in town for probably two dollars less, but that extra two dollars gets you so many extras – organic food, house-made ketchup, beautiful presentation on a handcrafted wooden slab, and a glamorous space with soaring beams and glittering chandeliers. The Farm to Plate lunch price of $10.99 is offered from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and then it switches to $14.99, which is not the end of the world either.

Mediterranean Specialty Foods at Lakehill Market | 3949 Quadra St. | 250-727-3632 Owners Yasser and Fadya Youssef, originally from Lebanon, have divided their market into three components. First, the food board, with the $5 falafel wrap front and centre. It’s fat, tasty and has a twist that will recommend it to EAT readers—pickled turnip. The crispy falafel is moistened with lots of tomato, lettuce and lemony tahini sauce, and the pickled turnip adds zing. When eating much more than his fair share, my husband shook his head sadly and said, “Why do people go to Subway?” Why indeed? The spanakopita is also a steal for $3, hefty and fresh, with crisp phyllo encasing a moist, juicy spinach filling. The menu is small but covers all the bases. Greek salad for $3 or $5, a hummus/tzatziki/baba ganoush/pita plate for $6, and yoghurt and honey for $5. Turkish coffee is $1.90. These can be consumed in the store Cont’d on the next page



Rebecca Wellman

Rebecca Wellman

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Rebecca Wellman


Tzatziki, olive tapenade, humous, tabouli salad, feta spread if you’re lucky enough to score one of the two bar seats inside, or at an outdoor table, weather permitting. Usually, people take out and have events catered. The second component, the deli counter, includes an array of dips ranging from $1.49 to $2.79. The walnut and pomegranate dip is a very special, complex concoction: the flavour swirls from sweet to nutty, ending with a final bite of garlic. The tzatziki is fabulous, made with thick pressed yoghurt (Greek-style), making it creamy and not sharp like the cheaper processed varieties. The third component, the Mediterranean grocery store, includes a gluten-free section. The staff will cheerfully walk you through and explain the specialty ingredients and recipe ideas; a new favourite of mine is scooping out a spoonful of their sour cherry jam onto their “labna” (pressed yoghurt) from the deli section to make Yasser’s invention: “instant cheesecake.”

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After a day on the slopes, tromping through snowy woods or whatever winter activity you choose to pursue (does reading the paper in a cozy sweater count?) everybody deserves a warm, comforting meal at the end of it. The rich flavours and warming textures of cheese + beer + meat + bread in a variety of combos) = pure happiness. Hopped up cheese soup This is thick, hearty and uber comforting – like a drinkable cheese fondue with a pleasantly hoppy bitter edge to it from a robust ale. The style of beer you choose strongly influences the flavour. Ditto with type of cheese. Be adventurous and choose local! Makes 10 cups. 2 big pats butter 2 leeks, white parts only, thinly sliced 1 rasher bacon, finely chopped (optional) 1 garlic clove, smashed 3 carrots or parsnips, finely chopped 2 celery stocks, finely chopped 3 Tbsp flour 1 tsp dry mustard Sea salt, to taste 650 ml bottle beer (try Driftwood Farmhand Ale, Crooked Coast Amber Ale or Phillips Phoenix) 3 cups chicken or beef broth 1 cup homogenized milk 2 Tbsp local honey 4 cups grated cheese, about 300 g (tip: you can never go wrong with cheddar) or use up ends and bits from the fridge – as long as it’s firm cheese! Melt butter in heavy-bottomed large saucepan or medium heat. Add bacon, leeks and garlic. Cover and sauté until softened, 10 minutes (try not to brown). Add carrots and celery. Sautee until softened, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle with flour, mustard and salt. Stir until completely absorbed, 1 minute. Gradually stir in beer and simmer until liquid reduces by about half, 6 to 8 minutes. Gradually stir in stock, then milk. Stir in honey. Cover and simmer to let flavours develop, 20 minutes. Ladle out about one-quarter of soup and puree. Return to saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Reduce heat to low, and gradually stir in small handfuls of cheese. Stir well between additions to ensure cheese has melted before adding next batch. If making ahead, refrigerate up to 5 days. Gently reheat – don’t boil.

WINE PAIRING Hopped up cheese soup I can’t think of much better partner than a gutsy stout, smooth porter or Scotch ale with the cheese soup and charcuterie laced biscuits. Look to local craft breweries for their winter seasonal brews.

Winter salad with blue cheese dressing Rosé in winter? Absolutely! One of the Okanagan’s dry or barely off-dry rosés would suit this simple-butflavourful salad . —Treve Ring

Cont’d on pg. 24 JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2012


Cont’d from pg. 23

Charcuterie & cheese biscuits Flaky buttery biscuits love a dunk in a bowl of soup. Plus they use up ends and bits of salami, sausage and those cheese nubs kicking around in the fridge. 21/4 cups all-purpose flour 1 Tbsp baking powder 2 tsp sugar Sea salt, a few grindings (the meat is quite salty so don’t go overboard) Ground black pepper, be generous! ½ cup cold butter, cut into pieces 1 cup grated cheese 1/2 cup chopped salami, saucisson, prosciutto or whatever charcuterie bits you wish 2 Tbsp chopped parsley or 1 green onion, sliced 1 cup cream 1 egg, lightly beaten Preheat oven to 425F. In a large bowl, stir flour with baking powder, sugar, salt and pepper. Add butter. Using a pastry blender or two knives cut in butter (or just use a food processor!) until coarse crumbs form. Stir in cheese, meat and parsley. Whisk cream with beaten egg. Pour over flour mixture. Using a fork, stir just until dough starts to come together. Using your hands, gently gather dough into a loose ball. Turn out onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Using your hands, press dough to form a rough square or rectangle about ¾-in thick. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Brush top with more cream or an egg wash. Using a knife cut dough into small squares and separate slightly. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce oven to 400. Continue baking until tops are deep golden and biscuits are puffy, about 10 more minutes. Serve warm.

Winter salad with blue cheese dressing Winter salads should go way beyond lettuce. Save the big leaves for summer and round out a mix of winter greens with shredded cabbage, slivered pears, apples and knobby celery root. The choices and amounts are up to you - this is really all about the dressing. Since the rest of the meal is quite rich and creamy, this is a vinaigrette version. Warm it up a little before serving if you wish. 1 Tbsp local honey 1 Tbsp boiling water ¼ cup cider vinegar (try Merridale’s Apple Cider Vinegar) 1/4 tsp dry mustard ½ cup olive oil ¾ cup crumbled blue cheese (about 2-oz) ½ shallot, minced Pinches of sea salt and ground pepper, to taste In a large measuring cup or Mason jar, stir honey in water until dissolved. Add vinegar and mustard. Using a hand blender, whirl to mix. While whirling, gradually add half the oil. Add ½ cup blue cheese and whirl to mix, then gradually whirl in remaining oil. Add remaining ¼ cup cheese, shallot and season with salt and pepper. Cover jar with lid and shake to mix. Refrigerate up to 5 days.

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Ok. Coffee isn’t local, but picking up the best beans from your favourite local roaster is the next best thing. And speaking of next best thing….coffee and chocolate together? So good. ½ cup butter 2 squares unsweetened chocolate 1 to 2 Tbsp ground espresso beans (the finer the grind, the better) 1 cup + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar 2 large eggs 1 tsp vanilla extract ¼ cup flour Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 325F. Line an 8-in square baking with parchment paper. In a saucepan set over medium heat, melt butter with chocolate and espresso. Remove from heat and stir in sugar until dissolved. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. Stir in flour and salt just until absorbed. Spoon batter into pan. Bake for 40 minutes. They will still be gooey inside. Cool completely, if you can wait, and glaze. Cut into squares and devour! Coffee Chocolate Glaze: Simmer ½ cup heavy cream with ¼ cup coffee liqueur. Remove from heat and whisk in 6-oz chopped bittersweet or dark chocolate. Whisk in a big pat of butter. Refrigerate to cool and thicken, however chocolate should still be pourable. Pour over brownies and smooth top.

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The winter doesn’t dampen the Comox Valley’s ability to serve up some of the best culinary experiences on Vancouver Island. Whether you crave an elegant candle-lit dinner, some authentic fresh sushi, or a casual family meal, the Comox Valley has an eating establishment to suit every taste and budget. If you lean more towards ‘surf’, don’t miss the shellfish presented on daily fresh sheets and house specialties in the region. The Comox Valley is the oyster capital of Canada, producing over 50% of all BC’s shellfish from the nutrient rich and clean surrounding waters of Baynes Sound. The diversity of mussels, clams and oysters can be enjoyed from raw to baked and everything in between at numerous eateries. If your tastes are less ‘surf’ and more ‘turf’, locally raised pork, chicken, and Vancouver Island bison are prominently featured in the region – even on speciality pizzas for those easy going après ski nights. The Comox Valley has garnered itself a culinary name thanks to the depth of recognized Chefs drawing from the surrounding bounty of the region to design their signature dishes. Many of these Chefs have incorporated the bounty from the massive active farmland of the Comox Valley which produces everything you need for year round eating. The culture of food, eating and living sustainably is evident from farm to fork, and the region is one of the rare places that boasts a year round Farmers’ Market (held each Saturday in winter). As such, many local restaurants emphasize food grown nearby in their menus and daily specials. All complimented with made-in-the-valley beer, wine, fruit wine, vodka and now whiskey! Comox Valley Dine Around Don’t forget to save the date for the 3rd Annual Comox Valley Dine Around, February 17 to March 18, with over 20 restaurants presenting $15, $25, and $35 three course menu experiences and Valley hotels and resorts offering amazing $79, $99 and $129 Dine Around and Stay in Town packages. Discover Wine, Beer and More Beaufort Vineyard and Estate Winery Blue Moon Winery Coastal Black Estate Winery Middle Mountain Mead Shelter Point Distillery Surgenor Brewing Company Places to Stay: Mount Washington Alpine Resort Kingfisher Oceanside Resort & Spa Crown Isle Resort and Golf Community Old House Village Hotel & Spa Holiday Inn Express & Suites Travelodge Courtenay Best Western PLUS, The Westerly Hotel & Conference Centre Comox Valley Inn & Suites Port Augusta Inn Peak Accommodations Riding Fool Hostel The Anco Motel Comox Valley Bed & Breakfast Association Winter Fun Only Found in the Comox Valley: In the Comox Valley – you can have it all; endless foodie experiences, seaside vistas or knee-deep snow play at Mount Washington Alpine Resort. The Comox Valley’s Mount Washington is a top Island winter destination. Enjoy the scenic ride on the Eagle chairlift to the summit (1588 m elevation) and take in the spectacular alpine to ocean surroundings. The panoramic view from the top includes Strathcona Provincial Park, the Comox Glacier, Mt. Arrowsmith, the Strait of Georgia and even Mt. Baker on a clear day. Its all downhill from there; Mount Washington Alpine Resort boast over 60 trails and gladed ski area that offer varied terrain that everyone from beginner to pro freeskiers can ride. The new Easy Acres and magic carpets provides beginners an enhance experience in learning incredible snow sports on the mountain. Snowshoeing, tubing and nordic cross country trails round out the outdoor winter fun offered here. After an exhilarating time on the mountain, head down to visit one of the many celebrated restaurants that never stops serving local! For more information about this dynamic culinary destination visit JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2012


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You could say eggs are nature’s ultimate fast food. With eggs on hand, you’re only minutes away from a scrumptious, healthy meal. The delicate flavour of eggs provides a blank canvas for just about every food imaginable, so don’t limit your egg repertoire to just breakfast. You’d be amazed how a simple egg can elevate everyday food into something special. Perch a perfectly poached egg atop ratatouille, lentils, pastas, rice, salad greens, baked potatoes or a mushroom ragout and you’ll know what I mean. The French are particularly imaginative when it comes to eggs. While in France last summer, I

The ultimate comfort food: baked eggs with spinach and mushrooms

enjoyed eggs baked in velvety cream; poached eggs wrapped in smoked salmon and served with shellfish; and tiny soft-boiled eggs cleverly concealed in soufflés. Beyond quiche, custards and crêpes, eggs were served alongside vegetables and topped with vibrant pestos, salsas and luscious sauces (not just a conventional hollandaise sauce). Who else but the French would serve œufs en meurette, eggs poached in red wine? However you enjoy your eggs, start with the freshest possible. I prefer to use local, free-range eggs for their superior taste and striking orange yolks. When eggs are fresh and delicious, the rest is easy. I’ve included three classic recipes sure to please every egg lover: a traditional French omelette; eggs en cocotte, eggs baked with spinach, mushrooms and cheese; and the ultimate egg custard— velvety crème brûlée. A classic French omelette has a pale exterior and a soft, creamy centre. No resemblance to the ubiquitous omelette served in many restaurants and hotels. Nothing wrong with the grand-slam variety bursting with every conceivable filling, but it lacks the subtlety and, well, sophistication of the classic French omelette.

“ You could say eggs are nature’s ultimate fast food.” Preparing a classic omelette is a simple feat in principle but requires a little finesse. If you’re up for a challenge, and the most delicate omelette imaginable, you’ll want to give it a try. Like all cooking techniques, there’s no trick to getting it right—perfection comes with patience, practice and a decent non-stick pan. An omelette is little more than soft, lightly scrambled eggs, delicately folded when just set. The entire process takes about a minute. When you’ve done it right, pat

Luscious crème brûlée with a caramel twist

yourself on the back because mastering a classic omelette is considered by many as a test of a chef’s true worth. Eggs en cocotte, or eggs baked in ramekins, is the ultimate comfort food and requires no special skill. Simply line small, ovenproof containers with your favourite filling, crack an egg on top, drizzle with cream and bake until done. My recipe calls for a filling of spinach, mushrooms and cheese, but there is no limit to what you can pair with eggs: roasted tomatoes, your favourite cheese, peppers, chicken livers, potatoes, smoked salmon, or leeks to name a few. Silky, elegant crème brûlée is the prima donna of all custards. Made of egg yolks and cream, crème brûlée is a rich and creamy dessert with an enticing golden sugar crust made for shattering. My recipe is infused with luscious caramel, but you can flavour yours with just about anything: rosemary, tea, ginger, citrus, coffee, coconut and chocolate, to name a few variations. Crème brûlée makes for ideal entertaining because it can be made days in advance. And what’s more irresistible than serving dessert with a blowtorch? I prefer my burly plumber’s torch to the fancy gourmet torches. It’s fast, efficient and makes for great dinner conversation. The next time you’re looking for inspiration in the kitchen, look no further than your humble egg. It’s your indispensable kitchen ally.

WINE PAIRING Eggs + sparkling wine = brilliance. Here the contrast in pairings (the humblest of foods plus the grandest of wines) works magic. Pick a brut (dry) sparkling wine. For the Caramel Crème Brûlée: One of BC’s late harvest Rieslings would suit – sweet pear and shining acidity. —Treve Ring



Classic French Omelette Makes one omelette. An omelette is best made with clarified butter because it can withstand higher cooking temperatures without burning. The process for making clarified butter is simple: melt one pound of unsalted butter in a small saucepan over low heat until a froth appears. Remove the froth with a spoon and discard. (The milk solids will sink to the bottom of the pan.) Slowly pour the melted butter, now pure butterfat, through a strainer lined with cheesecloth into a clean container, leaving the milk solids and water residue behind. I keep a supply of clarified butter on hand in the fridge because it’s so practical for sautéing foods and it has a much longer shelf life than fresh butter. This omelette requires a bit of dexterity. You must use both hands: one to hold a spatula and continuously stir the eggs once they hit the pan, and the other to hold the handle of the pan and shake the skillet back and forth. Keeping the eggs moving prevents large curds from forming. The goal is an omelette that is smooth, soft and creamy in the centre and just cooked on the exterior, without browning. The result is a tender, delicate, soft omelette. The entire process takes about a minute so moving quickly is key. 7 or 8-inch non-stick saucepan or skillet with shallow sloping sides 3 large eggs 1 Tbsp clarified butter or a combination of butter and vegetable oil 1 Tbsp finely chopped mixed herbs (parsley, tarragon and chives) Pinch of kosher salt Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add the clarified butter (or butter and oil). While the pan is heating, whisk the eggs in a small bowl. There should be no traces of egg white left. Add the mixed herbs and season with kosher salt. Pour the whisked eggs into the hot pan and stir the eggs continuously (with a nonstick spatula), while simultaneously shaking the pan back and forth so that the runny eggs fill in any gaps or holes on the bottom of the pan. When the eggs are almost set, turn off the heat and evenly smooth out the omelette with a spatula. Run the spatula around all sides of the omelette to loosen it from the pan. Grasping the handle, tip the pan to encourage the omelette to slide to one side of the pan. Using a spatula, gently fold one-third of the omelette onto itself. Then, holding the pan over a plate, slide and roll the omelette onto the plate so that it lands with the seam side down. Brush with a bit of butter if desired.

Eggs en Cocotte Makes six servings.

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1/4 cup butter, melted 1/2 cup freshly shaved or grated Parmesan cheese (optional) 6 large fresh, organic eggs Salt and pepper Cream for drizzling over eggs 6 oven-proof ramekins Kettle of boiling water Straight-sided pan (or baking dish) If you wish, you can line the saucepan, or baking dish, with a non-slip shelf liner or silicone baking mat (cut to size) to prevent the ramekins from sliding when transporting them to and from the oven. Alternatively, a tea towel does the same trick (with a little more bulk). Baking mats and

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shelf liners can be found in most kitchenware or hardware stores.

Suggested fillings: Fillings must be well-seasoned to hold up to this simple dish. Taste each filling; it should be seasoned and tasty before adding it to the ramekin. Chopped roasted tomatoes Diced and sautéed mushrooms and shallots Creamed spinach Cooked ham with gruyère cheese Cooked spicy sausage with tomatoes Shrimp and crabmeat Mild blue cheese and sautéed leeks Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush each ramekin with the melted butter. Place a large spoonful of one of the

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suggested fillings (or a combination of fillings) in each ramekin. Top with a bit of shaved parmesan cheese, if desired. Make a slight indentation in the filling with the back of a spoon to make room for the egg. Break an egg on top of each mixture and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the egg with a bit of cream. Place the ramekins in the lined saucepan (or baking dish) and move the pan onto a counter, nearest the stove. Carefully pour the boiling water into the pan, being careful not to pour water into the ramekins. The water should come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan with a lid or a sheet of foil and carefully transfer the pan to the oven. Bake just long enough to set the egg white, about 9 minutes (the yolk should be runny or very soft). If the egg white is almost but not quite firm, remove the pan from the oven (keeping the lid on) and check after an additional minute. The residual heat will continue to cook the egg. Remove the ramekins from the pan and drain off any excess butter. Serve the eggs in the ramekins, hot from the oven, with hot buttered toast.

Caramel Crème Brûlée Serves eight. This recipe is easy to make, but it takes a little planning and organization. Have your equipment ready and take note that crème brûlée needs to be chilled a few hours before serving. Fortunately, the custard can be prepared well in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. The sugar topping, however, must be torched just before serving. You can use any type of ovenproof dish, but I prefer wide shallow containers because they offer a larger surface to brûlée. 3 cups 35% cream 1/2 cup white sugar, plus extra sugar for the brûlée topping 1/2 cup water 8 large free-range egg yolks You will need: 8 small ramekins or shallow ovenproof containers Shallow, straight-sided saucepan or

baking dish wide enough to hold the ramekins Small (1 to 2 quart) saucepan for the cream Deep 4-quart saucepan for the sugar Fine-mesh strainer placed over a mixing bowl that can hold 4 cups of liquid Aluminum foil Blowtorch for sugar topping

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Pour the cream into a small saucepan and heat until it just begins to boil. Remove from the heat and set aside. In a deep saucepan, add the sugar to the water and mix well. Cook the sugar on medium-high heat until it melts and turns light amber, approximately 7 to 10 minutes. Once the sugar starts to change colour, you must be attentive and be ready to remove it immediately from the heat; beautiful amber can turn black and smoky in a heartbeat. This is not a time to multi-task: do not answer the phone! Slowly stir the warm cream into the hot caramelized sugar. Be careful—as soon as the cream hits the caramel, the mixture will rise and bubble madly. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Add a small amount of the hot caramel cream and whisk until incorporated. Add the rest of the caramel cream in a slow stream, whisking until combined. Pour this mixture through the fine-mesh strainer placed over a bowl. (The mixture is strained to ensure a smooth custard. Sometimes the hot cream will cook traces of yolk, leaving your custard grainy.) Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Place the empty ramekins in the shallow, straight-sided saucepan or baking dish and pour the custard into the ramekins. Carefully pour the boiling water into the pan approximately half way up the ramekins, being careful not to pour water into the custard. Cover the pan with a sheet of aluminum foil and poke a few holes into the surface of foil to allow some of the steam to escape. Bake approximately 50 minutes, until the custards are barely set; the centres will jiggle slightly but will set further as they cool. If you use shallow containers, the baking time will be reduced to approximately 25 minutes. Refrigerate until completely cool, at least three hours. Just before serving, generously dust each ramekin with white sugar. Tilt the ramekin from side to side to disperse the sugar. Using your blowtorch, carefully torch the sugar with the flame until the custards are evenly browned.

f one of the JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2012



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Sun Peaks Resort has been held in high regard by both professional and recreational skiers and snowboarders alike. Canadian Olympic champion Nancy Greene continues to be instrumental in its development, as generations of families make annual treks to this paramount destination. Being a ski resort gives the area a friendly, casual atmosphere that can be felt throughout the resort. Result? Big-city food and drink options are neatly tucked away into a charming and welcoming village including a pedestrian only main street. For those hoping to make the first chairlift of the day, try grabbing a quick bite and a cup of locally-roasted organic/fair-trade coffee at the Bolacco Café, 5 Forty Café & Deli or the Vertical Café. For a morning or afternoon break on the slopes enjoy the Sun Peaks tradition of a wonderful gooey cinnamon bun found at both Bento’s and Village Day Lodges. A visit to Sun Peaks wouldn’t be complete without an après cocktail at Bottoms Bar & Grill or a slice of Ryan Schmalz's Mountain High Pizza. Schmalz started his latenight joint at the tender age of 22, and has run it continuously for 14 years. All the basics, plus premium additions are available in whole-wheat, gluten-free, non-dairy or vegan/vegetarian options. Schmalz says that being on a ski hill makes all chefs step it up a notch, explaining that “when you have people coming in year after year, you want them to try something new and be wowed by what you're doing.” For a romantic dinner, consider the gorgeous Italian-inspired Belle Italia whose owners also own the popular Powder Hounds and Cahilty Creek Bar & Grill or Servus, a Sun Peaks European fine dining tradition since 1994 run by Karl & Elisabeth Anne Burchegger and renowned for their Viennese Schnitzel. Dinner options are divine, ranging from the Steakhouse at Sun Peaks Lodge (and their amazing dessert menu) to the restaurants overseen by Executive Chef Steve Burzak at the Delta Hotel. He's already wowing the crowds with his locally-inspired menus at Mantles Restaurant & Lounge, Morrissey's Public House and the M-Room. Mantles has a delicious menu involving local cheeses from Happy Days Goat Farm and Gort's Gouda, salmon from Chopinwick Fisheries (native-run Ocean-wise salmon) and meats from Dominion Creek Ranch. Traditional air-dried meats from Vancouver are on the menu at the M-Room, but they are most famous for their cheese and chocolate fondues. At Morrissey's, an Irish-themed “public house”, the shephard's pie is always a hit. The Black Garlic Bistro is the newest player on the mountain with a focus on Asianfusion with exotic ingredients such as yuzu (try the hand-cut yam fries with yuzu citrus aioli), Chinese 5-spice (in a chocolate lava cake) and many dishes with the unique tasting black garlic. This special fermentated garlic produces complex sweetsavory flavours in addition to a healthy dose of antioxidants (twice that of raw garlic). Enjoy the funky and hip atmosphere of the Globe Café and Tapas Bar with internationally inspired tapas dishes created by Chef Dale Fletcher perfect for sharing. Don’t miss the Menage au Prawns and Seared Qualicum Bay Scallops. Some of the mountains finest cocktails are prepared by bartender Damon Newport, winner of the 2011 Winter Wine Festival bartender face-off plus a good selection of BC wines. The 14th Annual Winter Okanagan Wine Festival held at Sun Peaks Resort (January 14 – 22) is a world-renowned culinary and wine extravaganza. Highlights include the Taste of Sun Peaks (featuring bites from every eatery) and the ever popular Progressive Tasting. Contact for more information and for a complete description of facilities, dining options and accommodations. —by Sarah Willard


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Rebecca Baugniet

Catherine and Jim Gowans of Omnivore Acres

Murray Hull of Kildonan Farm

Rebecca Baugniet visits two local egg farmers to find out what’s involved in getting an egg from the hen to the table. I have a friend who refers to eggs as “God’s gift to humankind.” “Look at them,” she says, holding one up for inspection—“a perfect little protein parcel.” Indeed, eggs contain all nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own, making them what is known as a “complete protein food.” They are, in fact, much more than just a protein parcel. It’s hard to beat eggs when talking about nutritional bang for your buck. The list of vitamins and minerals in each one is impressive; from iron, folate, choline and selenium to vitamins A, D, E and B12. Of course, not all eggs are created equal, and we are reminded of this at the grocery store when faced with a shelf full of options. A usual selection will offer brown and white eggs of various sizes, in addition to a range of what some stores refer to as “specialty eggs.” Eggshell colour is determined by the breed of laying hen and does not reflect any difference in nutritional content. What does influence the eggs is the quality of life, care and feed the laying hens experience. The main kinds of eggs available are: Organic: Hens live on a certified organic farm and are fed certified organic feed. Organic feed is roughly three times the price of regular feed, which is why you see the biggest price jump for this kind of egg. Hens have free movement in the barn and access to organic pasture. Free Range: Hens have free movement in the barn and access to outdoors. Free Run: Hens have free movement in open-concept barns, with perches and nests. Omega-3: Hens are fed an omega-enhanced feed, typically containing large amounts of ground flaxseed.



Murray Hull has been farming Kildonan Farm in North Saanich for the past 15 years. A third-generation farmer, Hull’s grandfather came to Canada in 1920 when land grants were offered for World War I vets. What began as a hobby has grown into a larger venture, and Hull now farms full-time with the help of one part-time employee, supplying the Root Cellar and Ambrosio Wholesale with eggs and other poultry products. Hull’s “layers” are a hybrid breed called Bovan who eat less and produce more. He explains that as soon as you allow the hens outside, productivity drops about 15 percent. This is why the price jumps between free-run (indoor only) and free-range (indoor and outdoor). To keep any predators from raiding the coop, Hull keeps his hens in until all the eggs have been collected but allows his hens out every day, weather permitting. Once collected, the eggs are washed, rinsed and graded by hand before drying and being packaged. Hull says he could double production next week and still not meet the demand for his free-range, grain-fed eggs, speculating that the marketing board limits for small farmers are there to protect the commercial operations. He cites how the rising costs of permits and biosecurity audits are deterring more farmers from getting involved in small-scale egg production. Despite the occupational challenges involved with predators and permits, egg producers appear to fully enjoy the work they have chosen. As Catherine Gowans of Omnivore Acres puts it: “I like being connected to the dirt. It really feeds your soul.” And if it also feeds your community, that’s a beautiful bonus. Omnivore Acres, 2888 Dooley Rd., Saanich Kildonan Farm, 1583 Munro Rd., North Saanich

A Gary Hynes

Here on Vancouver Island, it is increasingly easy to purchase fresh, locally produced eggs from farm gate stands and smaller, independent grocers. I had the chance to visit two local egg producers and see just what is involved in getting eggs from the farm to the table. Omnivore Acres is one example of how the demand for roadside eggs has blossomed into a business. Catherine and Jim Gowans bought their six-acre farm on Dooley Road in Saanich just over three years ago. Catherine, who still works as a nurse, was raised on a farm in Ontario, while her husband, Jim, is a retired livestock nutritionist who ran a successful feed consulting company. The couple shared a desire to bring the land back into production and established gardens soon after buying the land. Once the first coop was built (using recycled materials from the original farmhouse), 99 Rhode Island Reds,

a heritage Leghorn cross breed, took up residence as well. These hardy, handsome, freerange birds, fed on a vegetarian, omega-3-enhanced feed, were soon producing eight dozen eggs each day, which would quickly sell out. With eager customers knocking at their door hoping for more eggs, the Gowans decided it was time to apply for a permit with the BC Egg Marketing Board and increase their flock to 399 birds. The BC Egg Marketing Board controls the egg supply management for the province. A flock of 399 is the maximum for small egg producers, with larger quotas set for commercial operations. At the time of my visit, the new flock was getting settled into their new coop—a spacious, well-designed structure that offers separate areas for feeding, perching and laying. The Gowans keep their hens in production for two cycles, or about 30 months, at which point they are retired and used as stock hens.

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wine + terroir - By Michelle Bouffard and Michaela Morris

APPROACH THE BENCH Hester Creek Estate Winery proudly presents The Judge

Handpicked from some of the Okanagan’s oldest vines, rooted in the exceptional terroir of the “Golden Mile Bench.” A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Extensive barrel aging delivers a wine that is complex, big and bold. 36


Reds to Beat the Blues Surviving those long dark winter days requires rich, warming, full-bodied reds. Post holidays, festivities are scarce, money is tight and everyone seems to be on a cleanse. The days are short and gloomy and the weather is cold and soggy. It’s enough to make you ditch your alcohol-free regime and drive you to drink. Our thirst for chilled whites disappeared a long time ago. Instead, we crave something comforting; a warming glass that we can savour by the fire. Hello rich, bold, powerful, full-bodied reds. They are sure to cheer us up. Sometime in January that scary credit card bill is bound to arrive. It’s time to tighten the belt buckle. You may not be able to afford fancy dinners out for awhile, but it is no reason to stop drinking. For a minimal investment of under $15, you can find a delicious bottle of wine that will make you temporarily forget your financial woes. Believe us; it’s much more affordable than shopping therapy. Places we look to for value for money are Chile, Argentina, southern Italy and Spain. Land is typically less expensive, labour is cheaper and the climate is friendly for grape growing. This doesn’t mean they are simply turning out cheap plonk. Besides great values, all of these areas also offer more expensive versions once your finances are in better shape. Until then, the Montes Cab from Chile for $15 is a perennial favourite, but we particularly like the current vintage. When our budget is extra-tight the Spinelli Montepulciano d’Abruzzo at $9 is a winner. During the dark, cold, rainy days, it can be impossible to get warm. The moisture penetrates your bones. Heating up from the inside out helps and nothing achieves this better than comfort food. Those soul-warming dishes that you grew up on usually aren’t fancy, but they’re full of nostalgia, flavour and rib-sticking goodness. Classics like shepherd’s pie (or tourtière if you are Quebecois), meatloaf and chili put a smile on your face and take the chill away. For further warming effects, pair with comfort wines. These are the wines you are most familiar with or gravitate towards when you want something guaranteed to soothe. Perhaps it is Argentina Malbec or Aussie Shiraz. When it comes to Malbec, Catena is a reliable pick. As for Shiraz, we are big fans of the Tahbilk. You can always shake things up by choosing a producer you haven’t heard of or even a different grape. If you are feeling adventurous, switch up your Shiraz for Petit Verdot and try the De Bortoli, Vat 4. One of our favourite comfort pairings is spaghetti Bolognese with a Tuscan red. Homemade meat and tomato sauce is a classic with the Sangiovese-based wines of the region of Chianti. There are plenty of great producers to keep us company: Fontodi, Castello di Ama, Coltibuono, Querciabella and Viticcio. Cecchi crafts great less expensive options. After the umpteenth day of incessant drizzle and/or driving downpour, you may be ready to board the next plane to Hawaii. Sun deprivation is a common ailment during the Wet Coast’s winter. Escaping is unfortunately not always an option. It’s a lot more feasible to seek sunshine in a bottle. Think of those southern climes where the sun never stops shining and summer temperatures are balmy. The grapes are packed with sugar by the time harvest rolls around and the resulting wines are rich and heady. When you crack a bottle, imagine yourself soaking up that sun. In southern Italy, the region of Puglia comes to mind. (Its Latin name “A-pluvia” means lack of rain so you get the picture.) In these baking conditions, the Primitivo grape thrives. This is the same grape as the Zinfandel variety, but here it maintains its Italian character. Rich, ripe and soft with a raisiny quality, it is a great foil for spicy Italian sausage. The Gran Mauro is an affordable example. Southern Spain is equally arid and sundrenched and offers a plethora of gutsy reds. Look for the grape called Monastrell from regions such as Almansa, Jumilla and Yecla. The wines exude bold dark fruit with a slightly gamey character and have generous alcohol. When Michelle got fed up with the non-existent summer, she escaped to southern France. Now that she has returned to our dampened soils, the wines continue to

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console her. Regions such as Minervois, Corbières, Coteaux du Langudoc and Roussillon grace the labels and boast sturdy reds from a blend of grapes such as Carignan, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. In these parts, snow is a welcome change from the rain. Its novelty excites but it also forces many of us to hole up in our homes. If a flurry has you hiding behind closed doors, embrace the opportunity to slow down. It is the perfect time to dedicate to braising beef or lamb. A good stew takes a few hours of simmering and you need to have something to sip on while you are stirring the pot. What about a California Zin or Merlot? Both the Caymus Zinfandel and Benziger Merlot are easy to drink on their own but equally delicious with food. The good news for those who committed to a post-holiday cleanse is that it will eventually end. Your hard work deserves to be recognized. Why not bust out on a special bottle? It will taste that much better after the long days or weeks of abstinence. For pure decadence, Amarone is the ultimate. Made from grapes that have been raisined, it is plush and opulent with spice and dried fruit. While Amarone is a meal unto itself, it is even more of an indulgent treat with a hunk of the finest ParmigianoReggiano. If you cannot afford the $50-plus splurge, Ripasso is a worthy compromise. Essentially, the unpressed skins of Amarone are added to Valpolicella and a second fermentation lends body and extra umpf. At $30, the Accordini Ripasso gives some Amarones a run for their money. Even if you haven’t been cleansing, a hardy meal and good glass of wine will keep morale up during the winter. Sunday night’s roast beef with all the trimmings is a worthy occasion to enjoy a good bottle of Bordeaux or a Cali or Aussie Cab. You see, winter isn’t all that bad. It’s just about having the right remedy for the blues.

Tasting Notes 2009 Olivares Altos de la Hoya, Monastrell, Jumilla DO, Spain $15-18 (SKU #396804) Old World and New World meet in the glass. Intense and deep with dark plum and blackberries. Exceptional value. 2009 Gran Mauro Primitivo del Salento IGT, Italy $15-18 (SKU #818054) Rich intense notes of prunes, cigar and dates. A meal by itself. Also a treat with a piece of Parmesan instead of dessert. 2009 Sandhill Syrah, Okanagan Valley VQA BC $22-26 (SKU #98541) Pretty nose where violet and red plum mingle. Full-bodied yet elegant. A great example of how well Syrah can do in B.C. 2009 Paul Autard Côtes du Rhône AOC, France $23-27* (SKU #15540) When you are craving a full-bodied red with grip and restraint. Pleasant floral notes with delectable cherry, red plum and cranberry flavours. A must with pork or chicken. 2007 Domaine Serres Mazard Cuvée Henri Serres, Corbières AOC, France $25-29 (SKU #142471) Aromas of black olive, pepper, rosemary and violets bring you right to the South of France and inject some sunshine into your day. Locals would drink it with cassoulet; we opt for meat pie. 2007 Tahbilk Shiraz, Nagambie Lakes, Victoria, Australia $25-29 (SKU #171041) Full of blackberry, leather and savoury spice with appetizing fruit and fine supple tannins on the palate. Surprisingly elegant for a richer wine and especially warming with braised lamb. 2006 Accordini Valpolicella Classico Superiore DOC Ripasso, Italy $30-34 (SKU #540088) Very silky and polished but so much rich plush fruit, chocolate and coffee notes. Will give you a taste of Amarone at half the price. Enjoy with braised short ribs. 2007 Benziger Merlot, Sonoma County, California $30-34 (SKU #470799) The first sniff transports us to sunny California. Succulent cassis, grilled herbs and tobacco. Full yet savoury and begging for a delicious piece of steak. 2008 Caymus Zinfandel, California $44-51 (SKU #709808) Who doesn’t have a weakness for well-made Californian Zinfandel, especially in the wintertime when you need to get warm? This is Zinfandel as good as it gets. Brambly blackberry, cassis and sweet tobacco. Great on its own or with that stew you slaved over. 2007 Castello di Ama, Chianto Classico DOCG, Italy $45-50 (SKU #780536) Perhaps our coup de coeur this winter. Juicy yet polite and pretty. Expect generous flavours of cherry, cinnamon and leather. Screaming for Italian food or any type of fowl. *Available at private wine stores. All other wines available at BC Liquor Stores.

A youthful award-winning spirit gracefully matured in new American oak barrels. It can mix like a whisky or gin but we suggest trying it ‘naked’. It has nothing to hide.






what to drink with that—by Treve Ring

chef prof

Tamarind Marinated Rib Eye with Mango Puree & Roasted Red Pepper Chutney


Joseph Bla EnRoute M

DRINK editor Treve Ring asks local wine experts how they would approach pairing dishes and flavours. This month’s challenge is taken from the menu of one of the top Indian chefs in the world, who just happens to reside in Vancouver – Vikram Vij.



Barbara Phillips (BP) Master of Wine, Portfolio Manager for BCLDB Barbara Philip MW was the first Western Canadian to achieve the Master of Wine designation and is the only female MW in the country. She is currently European Portfolio Manager for the British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch (BCLDB). With her husband, Iain, Barbara runs Barbariain Wine Consulting and works as an international presenter, journalist and judge.

John Clerides (JC) Owner, Marquis Wine Cellars

Jacques Lacoste (JL) Sommelier, Lure Restaurant, Delta Ocean Pointe Resort & Spa For the past 27 years Jacques has worked in various restaurants around the globe, along the way receiving formal training from I.T.H.Q. in Montréal and at L’I.N.F.A.T.H. in Paris, and gaining hands-on experience at vineyards in Bandol, Nuit St-Georges and Naramata. Jacques obtained his diploma from the International Sommelier Guild, vintage 2001, graduating among the Top 5 students in Canada. In May 2010 he was the WOSA (Wine of South Africa) Western Canadian Champion in the World Cup of Sommeliers, and in July 2011 he was named “Sommelier of the Year for Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands” at Taste Victoria.

Tamarind Marinated Rib Eye with Mango Puree & Roasted Red Pepper Chutney BP Rib eye clearly calls for red but we have to keep in mind the other savoury/sweet flavours in this dish. I would recommend a Chianti Classico: mouthcoating tannins to stand up to the beef, orangey acidity to play off the tamarind, and ripe fruit to balance the mango and chutney. JC There is a lot going in this dish. The tamarind is sweet/sour with a great acid backbone which blends in nicely with the mango and red pepper chutney. This type of dish can work with either white or red although a little more thought needs to be put into the red wine. Lower alcohol whites with a hint of sweetness would work well Ehrenfelser, Riesling, and Insolia come to mind. Red would be a little trickier. Try a good regular or cru Beaujolais, but not too minerally (avoid the Cote de Py unless you know for sure the wine has shed its youthful exuberance), a balanced Cote du Rhone or smartly crafted wine from one of the new age Languedoc growers. JL In this dish do not look at the protein but what it comes with! For rare meat fans I suggest a Cabernet Franc based wine either from Chinon or the Okanagan Valley moderate tannins and good acidity to match the tamarind, and though will likely have a argument with the mango puree, the bell pepper will act as mediator. If you like your beef more well done, try a new world Sauvignon Blanc, from New Zealand, Chile and South Africa. Yes - white with steak! The acidity of the wine and the tamarind will neutralize each other to let the fruit shine through, and bell pepper and Sauvignon Blanc have the same flavour characteristics, which should work well together.

*Visit DRINK at for the extended version, including the experts’ recommendations for our bonus question - what would you pair with Winter Squash Sautéed in Mustard Seeds with Grilled Coconut Kale. 38


Rebecca Wellman

In 1977 John’s career began like any other good Greek Canadian, in the family restaurant. Ten years in the restaurant business gave John a strong foundation for working with people and listening to his customers. Aware of the frustrations locals had by the limited selection of wines and indifferent service at that time, John jumped at the opportunity to open Marquis Wine Cellars in 1986. John has travelled extensively sourcing unique, flavourful, undiscovered wines.

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chef profile — by Joseph Blake

Brad Holmes of Ulla

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Brad Holmes is wise beyond his years. A math and business student from Port Alberni and a latecomer to fine dining, the 33-year-old chef is one of Canada’s rising stars. Ulla, his 40-seat restaurant at the edge of Victoria’s Chinatown, recently landed on enRoute magazine’s 2011 Top Ten Best New Restaurants. Chef Holmes was still finishing renovations on Ulla when the international spotlight brought a wave of new diners out to join locals who have loved his cooking since Ulla opened in July 2010. The chef who “never went to cooking school” was introduced to the intellectual side of cooking seven years ago by Kris Barnholden while working at Vancouver’s Fiction Wine Bar. “I learned a lot about composing menus and precision and technique in the kitchen,” Holmes explains. “When I started getting excited about cooking, I learned a lot more by eating out often, as much as possible. That’s how I developed my palate.” Before opening Ulla, Holmes also worked at some of the best restaurants in Vancouver, including West (under David Hawksworth), Feenie’s, Aurora Bistro, Chow and Cibo. “Although I’ve worked for several star chefs, I’ve learned most of what I know from the other chefs in the kitchens, the rest of the team. The sous-chef, line cooks, the pastry chef, they all have things to teach. I learned the importance of a good, solid team. Danny Meyer, one of the most successful chefs in the world [and CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group in New York City], says the biggest thing is team building. I really believe that.” Holmes cites Asian, Italian, French and Spanish influences in his cooking. “It’s all over the map!” he laughs while taking a break from preparing squab for the night's special. “I just try to cook the best stuff I can using the best locally sourced ingredients and not screw it up. Owning a restaurant is a business, not some romantic notion. It’s a hard, demanding job, and as chef-owner I’ve got more of a business plan than a food philosophy. Ulla is his mother’s nickname, a Scandinavian term of endearment for Ursula. “We also chose it because Ulla sounds feminine,” Holmes explains. “That’s the image we wanted to project. We wanted Ulla to be a lighter, cleaner, more feminine dining room. It’s a pretty minimalist room, a clean canvas for the food to be showcased.” Visitors joined Ulla regulars recently as Holmes and his team produced a superb menu including squab breasts with confit legs, Brussels sprout leaves, squash cubes, kasha and farro wheat from burnt Idaho grasslands, which gave the grain a subtle, smoky flavour. “The food changes with the seasons. So, in spring and summer it’s lighter, more feminine. In the winter, it’s a little heavier, a little more masculine. But the dining room is a blank slate for the food. We built the room so the food will shine.” Ulla Restaurantm 509 Fisgard St., Victoria, 250-590-8795

´$7DVWHRI,WDO\µ with Stuart Brown ~ Tuesday January 24th, 7pm $35 ticket - wine & food tasting

-Tickets on Sale -

ph: 250.592.7424 dinner ~ monday to saturday from 5:30pm 2524 estevan ave | victoria |

liquid assets —by Larry Arnold SPARKLING WINE Rocky Creek Jubilee NV Vancouver Island $28.00-32.00 Vancouver Island is fast becoming a bastion of well-made traditional method sparkling wine. This blend of Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir is full-bodied with a lovely salmon hue and plenty of fresh raspberry and strawberry flavours. Soft and creamy with a long dry finish! With only 85 cases produced, this delicious sparkler from Cobble Hill will not last long. Hungaria Grande Cuvee Brut NV Hungary $13.45-16.00 A great little everyday sparkler that is as easy to drink, as it is to afford. Made in the traditional Champagne method, Hungaria Brut is fairly full-bodied with fresh citrus and mineral flavours and a hint of sweetness in the finish. Jaume Serra Cristalino Cava Brut NV Spain $12.00-15.00 Wow! For the money, this Cava is tough to beat. Slightly yeasty with fresh citrus aromas, plenty of tiny bubbles and subtle green apple flavours. Unbelievable value. Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay-Pinot Noir Brut Cuvee NV Australia $14.0016.00 This non-vintage bottle fermented fizz is soft and creamy with enticing citrus, apple and yeasty flavours. Surprisingly restrained and fresh with plenty of character and a long clean finish.

RED WINE Falesco Vitiano Rosso 2007 Italy $20.00-22.00 Winemaker Riccardo Cotarella makes good wine! Some might even say great wine! They are modern, but unmistakably Italian. Vitiano is a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet and Merlot, fermented in stainless steel then aged in oak for two months and bottled unfiltered. Black as pitch, with a bouquet that screams Sangiovese, with a touch of vanilla. Medium bodied with ripe cherry and mineral flavours, balanced, with lovely acidity and soft tannins. Glen Carlou Grand Classique 2008 South Africa $20.00-23.00 Grand Classique is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (52%), Malbec (16%), Merlot (14%), Petit Verdot (13%) and Cabernet Franc (5%), aged in a combination of new and second-fill French oak barriques. It is intense, powerful and incredibly lush, with black berry, cherry, spice and mint flavours. To say this beauty from South Africa is absolutely delicious is an understatement. Graceland Cabernet Sauvignon 09 South Africa $29.00-35.00 Beauty, Joy and Charm. Artist Jean-Baptiste’s rendition of the “Three Graces” graces the label and pretty much sums up this tasty Cabernet from Stellenbosch. Very rich with a whopping 14.5% alcohol that contributes to the weight and texture of the wine but does not come through on the finish. Very aromatic with cassis, chocolate and exotic spice flavours finishing with a blush of fine-grained tannins! Delicious.

TO DO LIST SCOTTISH MONTH January is Scottish Month at McLean's Specialty Foods and and the 19th Annual Haggis Extravaganza goes from Friday 20 - Wed 25th (Robert Burns' Birthday). There will be piper on hand. For reservations call 250.754.0100 to the Haggis lunch Monday Tuesday and Wednesday. On Saturday January 21 at Bowen Park Auditorium on Nanaimo, Eric McLean will address the Haggis in Mandarin at the the 3rd Annual Chinese New Year/ Robert Burns Supper celebrations. Enjoy Haggis Wontons, and Neeps and Tatties Spring Rolls, along with a Chinese Smorgasbord and traditional Haggis while watching the Lion Dance and Highland Dancers and bagpipes. A fundraiser for the Nanaimo Art Gallery. Call 250 729 9048 for information.



Averill Creek Pinot Noir Reserve 09 Vancouver Island $60.00-65-00 Nobody can ever accuse owner Andy Johnston of being shy about pricing but so be it. This hedonistic island Pinot is a revelation, with alluring cherry, violet and forest floor aromas! Wonderfully restrained with a soft, silky texture, sweet black cherry and spice flavours and a long supple finish! Worth every penny. Torre Mora Primitivo 2010 Italy $13.00-16.00 There is nothing special about Primitivo! It is a hearty vine that survives the climatic extremes of Italy’s Puglia region located on the heel of Italy. It produces a robust, simple red with ample alcohol and sufficient charm to keep the locals happy. In the great scheme of things, Primitivo is a newcomer to the western palate. Some think it is closely related to California Zinfandel. For the most part it is cheap and offers great bang for the buck. Torre Mora is blood red and very concentrated with ripe blackberry, spice and dusty earth aromas and flavours. Simple but tasty.


Terre di Giumara Nero D’Avola 2009 Italy $14.00-17.00 Another winner from Italy, this time from the island of Sicily! Very dense with an inky black hue and teeth-staining intensity. Sweet, sweet fruit with soft tannins and a long firm finish that belies its modest price point! Highly recommended.

WHITE WINE Falesco Est! Est!! Est!!! di Montefiascone 2010 Italy $14.00-17.00 As the legend goes; in the early days of the 12th century, Johann Fugger, a German bishop, blessed with an unfortunate name and a healthy appetite was summoned to Rome, post haste! Concerned about the quality of the tipple to be found on his journey and lacking credible information from the Holy See, Mr. Fugger sent his minion, a brother with a cast iron gut, in advance, to seek out inns serving good wine. Said minion was to mark the doors of the inns serving the best wine with the word “Est”. This, of course, meaning vinum est bonum, the wine is good. When the lackey finally hit the tiny village of Montefiacone, he found the wine so good he scribble “Est! Est!! Est!!!” on the door and as we say: the rest is history! The wine you ask; what of the wine? Well, it’s still pretty good with subtle citrus, apple and melon flavours and a lovely minerality nicely balanced with soft acidity and a clean, fresh finish! A delicious little white from the heart of Italy. Nederburg Winemaster’s Reserve Riesling 08 South Africa $13.00-15.00 The label says crisp lemon and pineapple flavours and I believe it! What the label does not mention, is how good this wine tastes and what an incredible bargain it is. Just modest I guess! Peaches, citrus, minerals and racy acidity with a refreshingly dry finish.


Feys + Hobbs Catered Arts launched their Number 3 Crisps late last year. Created by company founder and chef David Feys and handmade in small batches, the crisps come in two varieties: Peppered Wheat Free (which is also gluten free), and Sea Salt (harvested from Vancouver Island). Both were seasoned to complement either sweet or savoury toppings. For last-minute entertaining ideas, serving suggestions are written on the back of each box. But the Number 3 Crisps aren't just another vessel for delivering camembert to mouth. They are surprisingly addictive on their own, especially considering they're low in fat, cholesterol free, high in fibre, and vegan. A word about the texture of the Number 3 Crisps; gone are the awkward moments at parties spent reaching for the errant cracker crumb that fell into your decolletage. Owner David Feys promises the Crisps are "The perfect one-bite size… also toothsome enough to bite into without falling apart on your party dress or PJs". His statement was later tested by the writer on several occasions (throughout the same day, multiple garments, both flavours) and found to be very accurate indeed. Available at fine grocers everywhere. —D. Ladret


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Ingredients Health Food and Apple Cafe Offering all of the “Ingredients” for a healthy life! Can COMFORT food be HEALTHY? Just check out the Apple Cafe to see how! Ingredients Health Food and APPLE Cafe 2031 Store Street, Victoria B.C. Just north of Capital Iron! Store 250-590-6177 JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2012


chefs talk— compiled by Ceara Lornie 1. You're having dinner. Do you order beer, wine, or a


cocktail? Why?


We asked the chefs three quick-fire questions:

2. Foie gras: yes or no? 3. Is there a dish you won't eat?


MICHAEL TOURIGNY STUDIOS 250-389-1856 2001 Douglas Street - Unit F











Robin Jackson: Sooke Harbour House 250.642.3421 1. I like to be adventurous and try new things to pair with food. And certainly wine with dinner if I'm not driving. 2. Foie Gras is a must for me any time I encounter it in a restaurant. I love simple beauty and foie is a simple luxury in life. 3. There is nothing I wouldn't eat or try when it comes to food. I once ate a fivecourse tasting menu with bowhead whale in a village in Alaska. Jena Stewart: Devour 250.590.3231 1. I always order wine—a big goblet but just one. I am a lightweight when it comes to drinking! 2. Yes to foie gras. I love the richness, but I feel guilty afterwards when I let myself think about it. 3. I do not like pork and beans. It’s the texture. I don’t like mush, although I make a pretty good version. Hey! I still have to taste everything I make. Sean Brennan: Brasserie L’Ecole 250.475.6260 1. Wine or Champagne is a good way to start, or a nice crisp white. 2. Foie gras, yeah I eat it. I like it prepared simply—a terrine with some toast and good salt. 3. Eggs. Don’t touch them, therefore I justify eating foie gras and whoever keeps sending me “don’t eat foie gras” info stuff in the mail, isn’t egg production a bigger problem? Peter Zambri: Zambri’s 250.360.1171 1. Depends on what is being served 2. Certainly, but not to much of it 3. I don't think I would enjoy a roasted rat. Mark Currier: Pizzeria Prima Strada 250.590.8595 1. The answer is ‘D’; all of the above. Depending on what stage of dinner each of these could have an appropriate place with the feel and the food involved. 2. Yes! I can't believe that's even a question. 3. Fried eggs. I have cooked tens of thousands of eggs and I know it's weird; I love eggs in sauces and deserts, but two fat thumbs down to fried eggs. John Brooks: Smoken’ Bones Cookshack 250.391.6328 1. I could be proper and say it depends on the course, but truly it depends on the mood. Beer to start, wine with the main, and bourbon to finish. Then start over.

2. I would say yes, but anyone that was at the Chef’s Congress knows why I can't. 3. There isn't much that I say no to, but I hate chicken fingers. Anna Hunt: Paprika Bistro 250.592.7424 1. Cocktail, wine, then whiskey. 2. Yes. 3. Omelets. Zoe O’Doherty: La Piola 250.388.4517 1. Wine. 2. Only if it's Walter Gurtner's terrine. 3. Wasabi anything. Peter De Bruyn: The Strathcona Hotel 250.383.7137 1. In pubs and casual restaurants I order beer—generally micro brews, but a dining experience needs that full-bodied flavour of a big red wine. 2. No. 3. I always steer away from dishes with peanut sauce or peanut butter. Edward Tuson: EdGe 778.425.3343 1. Before dinner a cocktail and during dinner wine. 2. YES!!!! 3. Yes! Liver … unless it's deep-fried. Laurie Munn: Cafe Brio 250.383.0009 1. If it’s fine European dining, then wine. If I’m eating Indian or Asian food, then I often order a hoppy beer. And the weather—is it really hot? Beer please. When I was younger I went for the cocktails, but now when I go out I like to still remember what I ate. 2. I like foie gras and as long as it is done in a responsible way, by people who care about their animals. Meat is meat and if you are eating animals the only thing you should be asking is if it was raised well and cared for. 3. I will eat anything but I have never been into raw oysters. Jamie Cummins: Relish 250.590.8464 1. I would order Beer. Why? Because I like it. 2. Foie Gras? I wouldn't serve it. Not crazy about it. 3. I will try any dish. Matt Rissling: The Marina 250.598.8555 1. Beer, though perhaps a cocktail first. I find beer refreshing! 2. Certainly yes, but not often. 3. I've tried all sorts of things, including David's cod sperm ‘three ways’ and have not turned anything away in recent years. I'd probably say no to a plate of insects though—I never did like Fear Factor.

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VICTORIA: Now that the holidays are over, we can get down to the real business of winter: curling up in a chair by the fire with a good book, a cup of tea and some cookies. Looking for the perfect cup to brew your favourite loose-leaf tea in? Meet the TipCup, an ingenious new teacup that, as the name implies, tips one way for brewing, and another for sipping. Co-designed by Victoria’s own Daniela Cubelic (Silk Road), the TipCup has already garnered international recognition, receiving an honourable mention from the Red Dot design award committee. 2012 marks Silk Road’s 20th Anniversary, so it’s a great time to stop by, check out the new cup and try some of the high quality teas that have made Silk Road a Victoria institution. Congratulations to Daniela on these impressive achievements and her ongoing contribution to the city’s tea culture! ( Silk Road is once again the presenting sponsor for the Victoria Tea Festival, taking place at the Crystal Garden Feb 18-19. ( That takes care of the tea, but what about the cookies, you ask? Not in the mood for baking? Then try Victoria’s newest gourmet cookie delivery business, cookiedrop. Launched in early December, this new venture is the brainchild of Duncan Gidney; a man who loves baking cookies, riding a bicycle and wearing vintage suits. With cookiedrop, he manages to satisfy all three obsessions. I recently had the chance to sample the first three cookies on the menu – Orange Chocolate Chunk, Peanut Butter Bombers and Double Chocolate Bourbon Espresso (my personal favourite). I hear he is developing a new variety - a salted caramel sandwich, which will give me an excuse to order again. ( Another new baking enterprise is also on the horizon. Pie Common has been causing a quiet stir on facebook with their monthly pie giveaways. Handmade by Renee Reece, these “certified non-anxious pies” are made with an all-butter crust, and local and organic ingredients whenever possible. At present, orders are taken by phone, email or fb message. With options such as Magical Mermaid Pie (marshmallow with flakes of chocolate in a cookie coconut crust and sprinkled with jimmies) and Momofuku Crack Pie (an addictive pie boasting an oatmeal cookie crust with chewy top), this outfit takes pie baking to the next level. ( Once you’ve had your fill of hibernating with tea and baked goods, there are a good many reasons to get downtown. The Winter Markets are going strong, taking over the Inner Courtyard of Market Square two Saturdays each month. New stalls seem to pop up each market day – on my last visit, I ran into chef Heidi Fink just as I’d arrived. “Chorizo, roasted red pepper and arugula on ciabatta,” she told me, pointing across the courtyard. I understood by the look in her eyes that this sandwich was not to be missed, so I followed her directions to the El Guapo Chorizo Grill, where Ryan McGregor (GM at Canoe Brewpub) was serving up his homemade Berkshire pig chorizo sausage on a bun by B- Red Bakery. Look for El Guapo at future markets. ( On lower Yates, Sitka, the Vancouver-based retailer of surfboards, skateboards and apparel moved locations and has included a cozy café in the layout of their new shop. Serving up Discovery Coffee, breakfast treats such as Inca Porridge made with organic quinoa, and a tempting selection of fresh made sandwiches and salads on their lunch menu, the Sitka Café is a little hidden gem. ( Qoola, the Vancouver-based frozen yogurt chain, also opened up a new location in the 500–block of Yates, bringing their probiotic rich, fresh frozen yogurt to downtown Vic. ( Over on Broughton St., Montreal smoked meat joint Lully’s has rebranded as Anfield Coffee Bar and Urban Eatery (a tribute to his beloved Liverpool Football Club), still playing footy on the big screen, serving smoked meat and Nathan’s Famous Frankfurters, but now also offering Discovery Coffee and Hudson Jones Baking. ( A couple of noteworthy anniversaries. Brasserie L’Ecole celebrates their 10th year in business. Congrats Marc and Sean. And Nautical Nellies has just past their fifteen-year milestone. Congrats to Jeff Furneaux. Last but not least, big congratulations to Ulla Restaurant, for making the 2011 enRoute “Top Ten Best New Restaurants in Canada” list (EAT editor Gary Hynes was part of the cross-country panel that tabled the contenders.) ( —Rebecca Baugniet


Join our Wine Club... It’s a bag of fun!

See our website for details

VQA Wine Shop at

MATTICK’S FARM Open 7 days a week

5325 Cordova Bay Rd. 250-658-3116

Our service can best be described as “Knowledgeable, yet not pretentious… …approachable, with a hint of sass!”

NANAIMO: 2012 is kicking off with great momentum and a good variety of food news on the mid-island. For those wishing to start the year off with a healthy regime, you are in luck! Recently opened by the Bartlett family, Rawmbas Smoothie and Raw Food Bar (572 Stewart Avenue; 250-591-2114) is where health-minded mid-islanders can go to get juiced and fed up and it hasn’t taken their chef Diana Marchand long to prove her talent for putting great taste into vegan and 100% non-gluten fare. Breakfast, lunch, dinner or a mid-afternoon boost are all yours for a quick nosh or takeout from 7am-8pm daily. At Power House Living Foods Co. in Nanaimo’s downtown (200 Commercial St.; 250-5917873) owner Toni Jeffries’ vision is for everyone to enjoy the benefits of raw foods both at her shop Cont’d on the next page JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2012


The Buzz

The Bu

and in their own home. So along with offering delicious dishes, juices and almond milkshakes the shop offers all the tools and info you need to become a raw-food home-chef. Toni’s passion is contagious and after one short chat I’m intrigued to learn about sprouting grain and the art of raw-cooking pizza. Even the indulgent burger gets a healthy twist at Nanaimo’s new burger joint, Theresa’s House of Burgers. Here owner Arthur Wei Cong along with manager Senh Sy and chef Angela Casino (who I think should be re-titled “Master Burger Architect”), have created a true gourmet burger bar. The menu is full of themed-up-variety using beef, lamb, chicken, fish and veggie options and includes one of the most memorable basic gourmet bbq cheese burgers I have tasted anywhere (1-2220 Bowen Rd; 250585-1748). At Markt, the artisan deli by day is now also a brasserie by night! The small thoughtful evening menu features local ingredients and a pinch of inspiration from traditional French country cooking. Check their website or call for dinner schedules (; 250-585-5337). There is also a new winter menu and a warm fire burning at the Page Point Bistro in Ladysmith (; 250-924-1110). Read more about this best-kept culinary secret on page 18 of this EAT issue. Anyone who has experienced the gastronomic talents of chef Fatima Da Silva at Bistro 161 or Zanatta Winery’s Vinoteca will know why the opening of her newest venture Dolce Bakery was so highly anticipated. With fresh daily baked goods and a unique selection of gourmet food items Dolce is a one stop culinary adventure (40 Ingram St). What happens when Robbie Burns Day and Chinese New Year are brought together into one celebration? Well, at McLean’s Specialty Foods the revered haggis finds its way into crispy wontons, which are then delivered to a cross-cultural feast and party called Gung Haggis Fat Choy on January 28, 2012! All are invited and tickets/info can be found at McLean’s ( 250-7540100) where you can also enjoy a special Scottish lunch menu and the sounds of the piper January 24th and 25th. In Parksville, Executive Chefs Michael Sproul of Beach Club Resort and Eric Edwards of Tigh Na Mara are preparing their best “chops” for the four-day epicurean adventure that is Parksville Uncorked! This is a not to miss event where some of BC’s finest wines and brews will once again meet Vancouver Island cuisine at a variety of indulgent events at both resorts. Visit for events and schedule. Happy New Year all and here’s keeping life spicy with all this imbibable variety! —Karma Brophy

are as good as the spa before and then doing www.oldhouse While enjoy flavour and cas from the heart Go by the C 2998 Kilpatric sons to visit the hundred more. fee, sandwiche Thrifty Foods bustling Comox the 12 acre co roads. The stor ideas, it will be technology a m anchor tenant T commercial ten Meanwhile Ryan road ano ground. Archite erful west coa along with desi Chop House a behind the proj for summer 20 patio’. Before you g tle of wine, you Courtenay VQ Wine products the specialty i party. Try sever

COMOX VALLEY: Mt Washington Alpine Resort has opened with great early season conditions; plan your family or group getaway. Now is the best time to experience the hill, new lift facilities for beginners and great packages for everyone. Night riding hours have been expanded and the events team has fun planned all season. The Nordic center is looking forward to another great season. I’m excited about seeing the new athlete center; it’s quite the facility for teams and groups. Recently inside the Old House Restaurant the fire bell sounded. The Courtenay Fire Dept came running. When repair to the damages were complete, Jeff Lucas rang the dinner bell. Chef Andrew Martin and staff tested all the new menu items on the members of the department. What a welcoming party for the chef, congratulations to the brave members of the force and the Old House Restaurant. Next door at the Old House Village Hotel and Spa snow is in the forecast and the hotel packages


Cont’d on the next page

1715 Government Street 250.475.6260

Dinner 5:30 - 11 pm Tuesday to Saturday

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The Buzz are as good as the snow base. Enjoy your après in the spa before going to bed early in a luxury suite and then doing it all over again, for two more days. www.oldhouse While enjoying Courtenay experience local flavour and casual dining elegance at Locals, food from the heart of the island. Go by the Comox Valley Bake House at #122998 Kilpatrick Ave. In the window 9 great reasons to visit the shop are posted, inside you’ll find a hundred more. Available are breads, pastries, coffee, sandwiches, pizza, soups and so much more. Thrifty Foods plans to open its’ 29th store in the bustling Comox Valley. Land has been cleared on the 12 acre corner property on Lerwick and Ryan roads. The store hosts lots of great energy efficient ideas, it will be exciting to follow along to see what technology a modern grocery store boasts. As the anchor tenant Thrifty Foods will be joined by other commercial tenants. Meanwhile down at the bottom of the hill on Ryan road another project has grown out of the ground. Architect Tony James has drafted a powerful west coast statement that AFC Construction along with designer JC Scott will be home to Prime Chop House and Wine Bar. Kory Wagstaff is behind the project, he says ‘the opening is planned for summer 2012, just in time for service on the patio’. Before you go out for a dinner that includes a bottle of wine, you must visit Cindy and her staff at the Courtenay VQA Store. The selection of BC VQA Wine products is the biggest in Comox Valley, plus the specialty items are great to accompany the party. Try several varietals and producers, you’ll be

a pro when you visit the wine bar and find exactly what you want. Check out in store specials and shop events; don’t hesitate to ask for my special case selection. —Eli Blake TOFINO: The Tofino-Ucluelet Culinary Guild is prepping for a special dinner and cooking demo in Vancouver at the newly opened Edible at the Market ( Look for Shelter Restaurant chef Joel Aubie, the Wickaninnish Inn’s Nick Nutting, as well as the TUCG’s own Bobby Lax to be on hand for “A Taste of Tofino,” a 25-person affair, date TBA. The dinner will showcase many west coast purveyors, including 400 Degrees bread by Julie Lomenda, fresh seafood and shellfish from The Fish Store, Trilogy Fish Company, and Outlandish Oysters. For more about the TUCG and for the date announcement, visit The Offshore Seafood Restaurant (250-7262111) recently moved to a bigger location in Ucluelet. This sushi and seafood restaurant has expanded into the space at the entrance to town on Peninsula Rd. recently vacated by Delicado’s. Positive comments from re-opening night included “sublime rolls,” and “a solid wine list.” You’ll find Tofino Brewing Company’s Tuff Session Ale on tap at Offshore and many Tofino locations. Now it’s also on offer at the Alibi Room in Vancouver. for more information on the beers, including the new Dawn Patrol Coffee Porter. Black Rock Oceanfront Resort held a sold-out second annual BBQ Blues event Nov. 27th. There was barbecued pig, lamb, chicken with an array of

side dishes by chef Morne Van Antwerp and his team. Look for a new menu both in the Float Lounge and Fetch Restaurant at Black Rock, featuring potato beignet and deep-dish blueberry pancakes for breakfast, new lunch items, and elk and Pemberton beef burgers for dinner. or call 250-726-4800. A local non-profit society benefitted greatly from a fundraiser held at Long Beach Lodge Resort Dec. 4th. An evening for locals, the event raised money for the Raincoast Education Society (, a society focused on sustainability education. Featuring live music, and plenty of libations and tasty food from chef Liam Paul and new sous-chef Ryan Beck, it made for a fun celebration for a good cause. Look for winter specials at LBL, including $39 for three courses (appetizer, main and dessert), as well as pizza and beer specials. Congratulations to Nick Nutting of the Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn for his third place finish in the International Seafood Chowder Championship at the PEI Shellfish Festival in Charlottetown this fall. Chef Nick and the rest of the Wickaninnish team will get a break during renovations at the hotel in the early part of the year. The reopening date is set for February 10th. Another Pointe Restaurant chef, Ali El-Khalafawi, had a good showing at the Clayoquot Oyster Festival, November 17-19th. Ali, along with Ian Mowat of Outlandish Shellfood, won the 2nd annual Clayoquot Rules chef-farmer shucking relay. They were the fastest chef-farmer pair to shuck and slurp a dozen oysters. In total, 500 guests slurped some 9,000 oysters over the course of the festival

this year. Two main events - the Mermaid’s Ball and the Oyster Gala - make up the weekend, along with oyster farm tours, special dinners, and other many other events. . The team at SoBo is taking some well-deserved time off until mid-February, when they will re-open in time for Valentine’s Day. —Jen Dart VANCOUVER: The 4th Annual Chinese Restaurants Awards ( have announced the winners in the Diners’ Choice categories. Jade Seafood Restaurant in Richmond won Best Signature Dish Dining Restaurant, while another new category, for Best Xiao Long Bao (Shanghainese soup dumplings) went to Dinesty Chinese Restaurant, also in Richmond. Jade Seafood also won for Best Dim Sum. Critics’ choice winners will be announced later this month. Inniskillin’s Gold Oak Aged Vidal Icewine 2006 ( is going international. It is now being served in First Class on all of Swiss International Air Lines’ intercontinental routes. Tomorrow, the world… The sixth print edition of James Nevison’s Had a Glass ( is back, with 100 wines under $20. This year, there is also an app, available from the iTunes app store for $2.99, that offers food pairing suggestions for each wine, and searching by price, country, wine type, food pairing and more. Jacob Sweetapple, bar manager at Chambar (, has won the Tales of the Cocktail On Tour Competition for his Roaming Buffalo Punch signature drink, which will be featured Cont’d on the next page


How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I LOVE THEE TO THE DEPTH

hotel packages


n the next page

SOUL CAN REACH. Sonnet 43 by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

t Street 60 ca ca

Hidden away, far below on a rocky promontory in the idyllic scene on the left is the Wickaninnish Inn. Along with soul-enriching sea mist, love is also very much in the air here. Spend Valentine’s Day with us and create memories that will last a lifetime. You’ll also be some of the first to experience our extensively renovated guest rooms.

11 pm urday

tel 1.800.333.4604 Follow us @taste wickinnBC JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2012


The Buzz

chefs talk

during 2012’s Tales of the Cocktail Vancouver (, happening next month. After four years of construction and city delays following a fire in 2007, Kitsilano’s venerable Bimini Public House (, home to 70s post-Summer of Love hippies and founding Greenpeace activists, has finally been re-opened by The Donnelly Group. The Flying Pig ( has opened in Yaletown, turning the neighbourhood’s chain restaurant tide with a well-thought out menu of contemporary comfort Canadian cuisine. Across town, David Hawksworth has opened up Bel Café ( next door to his eponymous restaurant in the Rosewood Hotel Georgia. The café specializes in gourmet sandwiches, pastries, and, yes, macarons. Try the black sesame-yuzu macaron for an interesting kick. Wild Rice ( has opened up a satellite location in New Westminster, at River Market Quay. Menu is identical, and this location is open for lunch as well as dinner. Cactus Club Executive Chef Rob Feenie ( took home the gold medal at the 2011 Gold Medal Plates in Vancouver, and will go on to compete at the Canadian Culinary Championships in Kelowna on February 10 and 11. In other Cactus Club news, the much-anticipated English Bay location is set to open in early spring, with a seafood-centric menu and stunning unobstructed views of water and mountains. Executive Chef Ned Bell of Yew at the Four Seasons ( took home the honours for Best Chowder and Beer Pairing at the 2011 Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown. Best Chowder overall went to chef Paul Ceccone of Local Lounge and Grille in Summerland (, thanks to his smoked oyster and parsnip concoction. Ensemble owner and Executive Chef Dale MacKay has added an-

other restaurant (at 990 Smithe St.) to his stable. Ensemble Tap ( focuses on craft brews and glammed comfort food. Chef Brad Hendrickson will be manning the new station. — Anya Levykh OKANAGAN: Kelowna’s Waterfront Restaurant and Wine Bar’s Grand Re-opening after extensive renovations is scheduled for the end of February. Two Canadian franchises have opened locations in Kelowna - The Old Spaghetti Factory and Chez Cora while it is goodbye to Swiss Chalet & Kelseys who have closed their doors. Make a day trip or stay the week-end in winter wonderland at Big White Resort which now offers several restaurants to choose from including Globe Café and Tapas Bar, 6 Degrees Bistro, newly opened BullWheel Restaurant and Kettle Valley Steakhouse & Wine Bar. Sadly, Summerland’s much-loved Victoria Road and Deli Bistro has closed. Penticton’s newly opened and tiny restaurant - Wild Scallion at 75 Front Street serves delicious healthy curries and soups for the downtown lunch crowd during the week and stays open late on Friday and Saturday evenings. With New Year’s resolution in hand, it’s time to improve your baking, cooking and bartending skills. Enjoy learning the secrets and art of French baking with Sandrine Martin, who is originally from France and comes from family generations of chocolatiers at her delightful Kelowna bakery, Sandrine French Pastry and Chocolate. Enjoy Thursday evening or Saturday afternoon classes include Chocolate, Fruit Tartes and the Basics of traditional French pastry. $95.00+. See website for details: Penticton’s Phat Cake Bakery, the Okanagan’s best source for cake decorating supplies offers classes ranging from ornament fondant to decorating basics for cupcakes and cake-pops. Create your own wonderful creations to impress at your next baby/bridal shower, kids birthday party or evening

soiree. Starting at $25.00+. Learn how to make Indian cuisine at home with the very popular cooking classes held at Kelowna’s Poppadoms Indian restaurant on Saturday afternoons. $65.00+. Email: for more details. Become a bar-tender extraordinaire or just impress your friends at your next gettogether with Liquid Sundays at RauDZ restaurant in Kelowna, where award-winning mixologist Gerry Jobe will be teaching Sunday classes starting January 15th. $40.00+ or 3 classes for $100.00+. See website for details: No need to go to Tuscany or Europe, instead head to West Kelowna’s Mission Hill Winery or Bogners of Penticton for exceptional culinary classes. Executive Chef Matthew Batey offers state of the art Culinary Theatre classes at Mission Hill Winery during the winter which are limited to a maximum of twenty-four guests and sell out every year. $79.00+ per class or $225.00+ for 3 classes. Or enjoy working in a professional kitchen at Bogners of Penticton with owner Executive Chef Darin Paterson who offers hands on cooking classes Sunday afternoons. From $45.00+ or $85.00+ with wine pairings. Call for details 250-493-2711. Beat the winter blues - Sip, Savour and Save-Dine Around Thompson/Okanagan runs from January 18th to February 5th. Enjoy prix fix menus at $15.00, $25.00 or $35.00. See for participating restaurants. Finally, celebrate romance in wine country with dinner or a romantic getaway - Burrowing Owl’s Sonora Room Restaurant, Hester Creek Winery’s Terrafina Restaurant, Quails’ Gate Winery Old Vines Restaurant and Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Sunset Organic Bistro are all open for Valentine’s Day. Also Kelowna’s Hotel El Dorado and Vernon’s dazzling Sparkling Hills Resort which boasts over 3.5 million Swarovski crystals both offer romantic Valentine Day get away packages. See websites for details. —Claire Sear

Victoria’S Love Affair With the burger continues. First Look: Big Wheel Burger

First Look: Bin 4 Burger Lounge

Big news, hot off the flat top: Cook St Village has lost its laundromat and gained a fastfood restaurant. However, it's friendly mascot isn't Ronald, Wendy, or an orange turtle-necked bear. His name is Big Wheel, and he's a cerulean blue floating head with a lopsided lip-smack and wavy combover. More of a superhero than just a plain old mascot, he has come to the rescue of every eco-conscious foodie who still gets hit with cravings for a double cheeseburger on the fly. Big Wheel Burger is the brainchild of Victoria restauranteurs Jeff Hetherington (of Pig BBQ Joint), and Peter Zambri, Josephine Zambri, Calen McNeil, and Louis Vacca (of Zambri's). Together, they aimed to create––at last––a top quality fast-food restaurant with a genuine conscience. There's no reinventing the wheel here (pun intended), the postcard sized menu is short and to the point. Burgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, fries, poutine, floats, and shakes. Of course, the place wouldn't be Fairfield-friendly without a veggie burger, salad, and gluten-free bun option––and some good beer on tap (Phillips). For children under 12, the Little Wheel Meal Deal comes complete with a bonus "collectible item", a surefire lure for the junior set. As for dessert, chocolate chip cookies are baked fresh every hour, available in individual bags on a tray at the pick-up window, or served as an ice cream sandwich. The food is sourced from within 100 miles (the Two Rivers beef is ground daily in-house), ingredients are selected for premium quality and environmental sustainability, and all wrappers, utensils, and takeout accoutrements are fully compostable. The prices are affordable, $11 gets you a burger, fries, and a fountain pop. In true fastfood format, there's no table service; orders are placed with the cashier and your number is called out by the kitchen when your meal is ready. Big Wheel's honest, no-frills approach is reflected in the building's updated design: exposed concrete walls, chalkboards, a serve-it-yourself soda fountain, and lots of casual seating. Open 7 days a week from 11am-10pm. —By Deanna Ladret Big Wheel Burger 341 Cook St. (250)-381-0050

Tuck a giant napkin into your shirt collar, Victoria: there's a new burger joint in town, and it's no truck stop diner. Bin 4 Burger Lounge opened its doors on November 5th, presenting more than 15 different takes on everyone's favourite bun-wich and the sides and drinks enjoyed along with. Owners Dan Blackmore and partner Sarah Russ wanted to create a neighbourhood restaurant that nailed the gourmet burger but still enticed the lounge-y crowd; hence the Bin 4 moniker (4 is also Blackmore's lucky number) and the variety of craft beers, global wines and signature cocktails that accompany the cooking. Chef Mike Ringland's menu is sure to satisfy both the hamburger purist and those who favour the looser interpretations (think rangeland elk with chipotle bourbon BBQ sauce, aged cheddar, jalapeno & sweet onion relish). Each burger is served on an Irene's Bakery Brioche Bun, chosen for its similarity to the classic drive-in bun of yesteryear (gluten-free and lo-carb solutions are delivered via Origins Bakery Bun or Butter Lettuce Stack) with a choice of French Fries, Spiced Potato Chips, or Bin 4 House Salad. Vegetarians, historically relegated to afterthought status at most burger joints, will be happy to know there are two meatless options, including the Bin 32 Crispy Tofu Burger*. The menu's flip side features starters, salads, and a list of tempting dips and sauces. Desserts change monthly along with a seasonal burger and drink special. Two Rivers Specialty Meats, local-when-possible produce, and house-made condiments (right down to the ketchup) reflect the restaurant's commitment to wholesome food and local suppliers. Hours of operation: Open from 11:30 am 7 days/week until 11pm Monday through Thursday, midnight Friday & Saturday, 10pm on Sunday. —By Deanna Ladret Bin 4 Burger Lounge 180-911 Yates St., 250.590.4154 * Author's note: It was delicious.



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chefs talkâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; compiled by Claire Sear We asked the chefs three quick-fire questions: 1. You're having dinner. Do you order beer, wine, or a cocktail? Why? 2. Foie gras: yes or no? 3. Is there a dish you won't eat?

Valentineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Day Enhance the Romantic Mood

Jesse Croy, Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Kelowna, 250-764-8000 1. Wine. 2. Yes 3. Testicles of any kind. Thomas Render, Naramata Heritage Inn & Spa, Naramata, 250-496-6808 1. I would order the wine that would pair best with the dish that I ordered, unless it was a high end pub with beer pairings. 2. No, I like to use only clean, local meats. 3. When I worked on Saltspring Island I started to experiment with lamb offal meats which the farmer just fed to his dogs, when he brought us the testicles and penis I had to draw the line. Jason Embree, Good Omens, Summerland, 250-494-3200 1.) I am a lover of both wine and beer. My choice would really depend on the restaurant I am at and the company I am in. 2. Foie gras can be a touchy issue. I would say yes, absolutely. It is likely I will ask for seconds. 3. I like to challenge my palette and I am always intrigued by new flavours. I am a fan of Asian cuisine but there is one dish I will never try again and that is natto, a traditional Japanese food made with fermented soybeans. Chef Nikolas & April Roy, 6 Degrees Bistro, Big White Ski Resort, 250-4911716 1. Nikolas - Wine, April â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Wine 2. Nikolas - No, April â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Yes 3. Nikolas - Olives, April - Sushi Christopher Thomas, The BullWheel, Big White Ski Resort, 250-801-1178 1. For me itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s often progressive. A martini or sparkling wine is usually nice, followed by an appropriate wine dictated by the food choices Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve made. 2. Personally I have served the product in many of my restaurants and enjoy it. I suggest that people research Fois Gras and make a decision based on their own value system. 3. I travelled the Pacific Rim extensively as the executive chef with Cirque du Soleil. My tour took me to Korea where there was a common, traditional dish served called kegogi (dog meat) my value system did allow me to eat this product. Vincent Dennis, Sante Bar and Grille, Big White Ski Resort, 250-491-8122 1. Yes, yes or yes ... depends on the mood and the company 2. Absolutely. I was just on a culinary tour of Montreal and had Foie Gras Poutine. 3. Liver - makes me gag.

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Gordon Spear, Globe Cafe & Tapas, Big White Ski Resort, 250 765 1501 1. If I were to go out and have dinner I would drink wine. Wine is most likely to enhance the flavor of the dish you are eating. 2. No - it is out of vogue, despite most top chefs still worshipping it! 3. Shellfish. I personally do not like the after taste. Sarren Neon Wolfe, Gunbarrel Saloon and Restaurant, Big White Ski Resort. 250-292-8515. 1. For dinner if Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m having a steak sandwich - beer, if Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m having something a little higher end then it would be wine. 2. Yes but not here. 3. Nachos. Also, I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t eat shellfish because Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m allergic. Bryce Broadhurst, Kettle Valley Steakhouse, Big White Ski Resort. 250491-0130 1. It depends what I am eating, I prefer beer with eastern European foods and with spicier meals. I drink wine with most other styles of cuisine. 2. Definitely - Yes 3. I will try anything once.

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Resolutions can wait... reservations can’t. January 20 – February 5, 2012 PRESENTED BY




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Best Bite Awards Cast your vote for your favourite restaurant experience and you could Dine Out for a Year!

EAT Magazine January | February 2012  

Celebrating the Food & Drink of British Columbia

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