Eat magazine march | april 2015

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EAT Magazine March_Apr 2015_Victoria_48_Layout 1 2/27/15 3:35 PM Page 1


Smart. Local. Delicious.




l 2015 | Issue 19-02 |

Spicy Prawn Lettuce Cups

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Smart. Local. Delicious.


g Food



Kale Dip

07 CONCIERGE DESK Monthly calendar of events + festivals

09 Food Matters Julie Pegg goes Irish.

10 Good For You Legumes

12 Get Fresh Wild spring mushroms

13 Epicure At Large Chinese breaded almond chicken



14 Reporter Cactus Club, The Oaks, Stage, Unsworth

18 Eating Well For Less Mai Mai’s, Marys Bleue Moon Café, Wrap ‘n’ Roll

20 Symposiums Terroir 2015

g Features 22 Ramen Pop-Up Jon Johnson is embedded in one crazy night

24 Victoria Beer Week Sisters of the Tap

28 The 5th Exceptional Eats! Awards Results

g Recipes 34 Local Kitchen Spicy Prawn Lettuce Cups, Chai Churros

g Wine

& Beer

21 Cocktail of the Month On trend with shrubs

38 Vincabulary Prolific Tempranillo

39 Beer & a Bite Tofino Brewing Blonde Ale and fish and chips

40 Wine + Terroir Italian grape varieties

42 Wine & Food Pairing Dishes from two top Australian restaurants

Wrap ’n’ Roll Makanek Wrap (Lebanese beef sausage with parsley, lettuce, tomato and pickled turnip and mayo. Pg 19 photo by E. Nyland

43 Liquid Assets Larry Arnold recommends10 wines



37 What the Pros Know: Specialty stores 38 The Buzz: All the news that fit to print...

Visit for more Kale inspired creations!

and then some MARCH | APRIL 2015


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Special Occasion Brunch

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h \ Y g h ] W _ m k] W _ Y h d i V

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E AT FOUNDER & EDITOR Gary Hynes PUBLISHER Pacific Island Gourmet ASSISTANT EDITOR Colin Hynes CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Carolyn Bateman VANCOUVER CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Julie Pegg DRINK EDITOR Treve Ring SENIOR WINE WRITER Larry Arnold ART DIRECTION Gary Hynes COPYEDITORS Cynthia Annett, Jon Johnson REGIONAL REPORTERS Tofino | Ucluelet Jen Dart | Victoria Rebecca Baugniet | Cowichan Valley-Up Island Kirsten Tyler CONTRIBUTORS Larry Arnold, Joseph Blake, Michelle Bouffard, Holly Brooke, Adam Cantor, Cinda Chavich, John Crawford, Jennifer Danter, Pam Durkin, Gillie Easdon, Jeremy Ferguson, Colin Hynes, Jon Johnson, Sol Kaufman, Tracey Kusiewicz, Sophie MacKenzie, Sherri Martin, Elizabeth Monk, Michaela Morris, Simon Nattrass, Elizabeth Nyland, Tim Pawsey, Julie Pegg, Treve Ring, Kaitlyn Rosenburg, Adrien Sala, Michael Tourigny, Sylvia Weinstock, Rebecca Wellman. Cover photography by Michael Tourigny

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.

OUR ETHICAL GUIDING PRINCIPALS 1. EAT has advertisers in our magazine and on our website; they are our primary source of income. Our company, Pacific Island Gourmet, employs a dedicated advertising team responsible for selling ad space in EAT and on The EAT editorial team does not accept money or other consideration from companies as a condition or incentive to write a review or story. All editorial content on EAT is based on the editor’s discretion, not on the desire of any company, advertiser or PR firm. Occasionally EAT and may publish sponsor content, which will be labelled. 2. EAT contributors are not allowed to ask for free meals or drinks. Anyone identifying themselves as being on assignment for EAT will be able to prove their employment.


HOW TO REACH EAT MAGAZINE ADVERTISING 250.384.9042, WEBSITE MAILING ADDRESS Box 5225, Victoria, BC, V8R 6N4 TEL 250.384.9042 EMAIL PICK-UP THE MAGAZINE EAT is delivered to over 300 pick-up locations in BC including Victoria & Vancouver, Vancouver Island. Visit our website for locations

Facebook/EatMagazine Sign-up for our Tapas newsletter Publisher Pacific Island Gourmet | EAT ® is a registered trademark. MARCH | APRIL 2015


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Editor’s Note THIS IS OUR 5TH EXCEPTIONAL EATS! AWARDS ISSUE. I always look forward to it because I can dine off the results for months. Who makes the best baguette? What’s the most unique dish being cooked in Victoria? I want to know the beer that took the year and which sandwich place garnered the top spot, as well as who won in the best new restaurant category. So look for me. I’ll be out there buying the bread, visiting the restaurants, placing my order for a new taste experience, filling my fridge with winning beer, and hungrily eating that sandwich. Although only the top pick in each category is published (and a runner-up if it was close), I wish I could share each reader’s list of favourites. EAT readers are a smart bunch and seeing who and what they vote for in the survey can open up a world of new possibilities. For instance, a restaurant might not tally the most votes, but I like that there are readers out there voting for them, eating there, and recognizing their excellence. I’m energized to get out and try them all. As we were tabulating the votes for Dish of the Year, I was amazed at the huge variety of interesting dishes. I can’t wait to get started on my to-do—must-




eat—list. I hope you, too, will take inspiration from the results. Elsewhere in the magazine, there’s plenty to read and some wonderful and mouthwatering photographs to look at. I suggest you start with the recipe section. This issue we bring you a light and refreshing, yet spicy, lettuce wrap that uses just-in-season spot prawns from Vancouver Island waters—perfect after a long winter of braises. And our take on churros is unique. While we have a chocolate dipping sauce, of course, we also use fresh from the garden rhubarb to make a lighter, fresher, more tart sauce—not to be missed. This year EAT is a sponsor of Victoria Beer Week. Only in its second year, the festival is already garnering much attention and interest—even from as far away as Toronto, where it’s being discovered that British Columbia is not just Vancouver. We have a vibrant craft beer community on Vancouver Island, and seeing everyone rally around this event is inspiring. We are looking forward to meeting everyone and trying their innovative brews. Look for a day-by-day account of Victoria Beer Week on the EAT website by our team of web writers. They’ll be attending the events and sampling the beers and ales. Hell, someone’s got to do! As always bon appétit and happy eating and drinking. —Gary Hynes, Editor.

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By Rebecca Baugniet

VICTORIA BEER WEEK (Victoria) Victoria Beer Week is a nine-day series of events highlighting a broad selection of BC craft breweries while educating greater Victoria residents about craft beer. The week is bookended with large events that pair BC craft beer with local Victoria artisan food vendors, with a clear focus on showcasing quality BC craft beer and educating beer enthusiasts. Smaller tastings, seminars, movies and micro-events happen at various venues throughout the week. Mar 7-15 ( PICA SPRING BREAK TEEN CULINARY BOOT CAMP (Vancouver) Spring break is a wonderful time for teens to be immersed in fun, educational activities outside of school. At the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, your budding chef can participate in a week of food and fun as they dive into a completely hands-on, weeklong course with a professional chef instructor. Includes all supplies and ingredients and Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts' logo apron. Mar 16-20. $475. (


CULINAIRE (Victoria) The sixth annual Culinaire event will provide Victorians the opportunity to savour signature menu items and inspired dishes from an abundant selection of restaurants, lounges, pubs, cafes, specialty food producers, and sip from a fine selection of local and regional wines and craft beers. Proceeds benefit the annual scholarship program at Camosun College’s Culinary Arts Program. Mar 19. For full event details and a current list of who will be presenting visit

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9TH ANNUAL DINING OUT FOR LIFE (Vancouver and Whistler) Make a difference — dine out and support people living with HIV/AIDS on Tuesday, March 26. Dining Out For Life is BC’s largest restaurant fundraiser, benefiting A Loving Spoonful and Friends For Life. Visit for a list of participating restaurants.

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MOSS STREET MARKET’S MINI-MARKETS (Victoria) Every Saturday in April, half-markets will take place from 10am-noon at the corner of Moss St. and Fairfield Road. (


OKANAGAN FEST-OF-ALE (Penticton) Since 1996 the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale Society Consumer Tasting has been bringing beer lovers and brewers together to celebrate the almighty ale at one of the biggest and long-standing beer fests in North America. The event offers a great mix of live entertainment and fare from some great local restaurateurs. With over 30 brewers and 90 products expected at this year's event, there is something for everyone. Apr 10-11. (



19TH ANNUAL CHOWDER CHOWDOWN (Ucluelet) Sample the best of the Pacific Northwest from local chefs. Gourmet secrets, mom and pop specials and traditional family recipes. Have a taste of numerous samples and flavours. Presented in partnership with District of Ucluelet Rec Commission and Department. Mar 22. (

FRASER VALLEY FOOD TRUCK FESTIVAL (Abbotsford) Twenty food trucks, an artisan market, family fun entertainment, live music and a beer garden! $2.00 at the door (free for kids). 11:00 am-5:00 pm. Apr 4. (


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May 8 - 24 (Tofino-Ucluelet)

The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon


he massive surge of interest in a return to real, wholefood eating in a world oversaturated with processed, nutritionally vacant fast foods has ushered in a wave of fantastic, plantbased cookbooks full of recipes for easy, delicious, and hugely healthy food. It’s no surprise that these have been some of the biggest selling titles of recent years, and Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows Cookbook is no exception. This bestseller has been flying off the shelves for months, and it’s not necessary to look far to find out why. After years spent battling an eating disorder, Liddon decided it was time to kick processed, artificial foods and adopt a wholefoods based diet consisting of plenty of fruits, vegetables, and nuts. The resulting transformation in her health and happiness inspired her to start the Oh She Glows blog now one of the biggest vegan eating blogs online to share her revelation with the world. On the heels of the blog’s success came the cookbook. The Oh She Glows Cookbook features page after page of instantly mouthwatering, simple, and healthy recipes. Even the cover the Mighty Chia Pudding Parfait was almost enough to sell me on this book before I’d cracked the cover. But trust me, it’s well worth the while to crack the cover. Every meal of the day is covered breakfasts, dinners, lunch, dessert nothing is left out. And they’re all delicious, filling, inexpensive to put together, and packed with the health and vitality affirming nutrients that you can really only get from wholefood eating. If you suffer from a food allergy, there are lots of great recipes in here featuring glutenfree options, as well as a variety of other common food allergens. Liddon’s realization that unprocessed, healthy food is an important key to both looking good and feeling good is at the heart of what makes Oh She Glows so great. What we eat matters. Grab a copy of this cookbook and discover that for yourself.

The Oh She Glows Cookbook is available at Bolen Books for $29.00

111-1644 Hillside Ave., Victoria (250) 595-4232



A collaboration between the area’s renowned chefs, fishermen and women, accommodation providers, activity providers and tour operators, Feast! Tofino - Ucluelet celebrates the abundance of local produce, seafood and sustainable " boat to table " practices commonly adopted by the area's restaurants. This year’s guest chefs include Kunal Ghose (Red Fish, Blue Fish, Victoria), Chris Whittaker (Forage, Vancouver), and Peter Zambri (Zambri’s, Victoria). Returning events will include the annual Dockside Festival (at the 4th street dock) and the Boat to Tailgate Party, after its successful inaugural event in 2014 at the Trilogy Dock. The culinary scene in Tofino-Ucluelet continues to flourish, especially with recent additions of Wolf in the Fog and Kuma, and Feast! offers a great opportunity to celebrate it. This year’s festival runs from May 8-24. (

12TH ANNUAL OTTAVIO ANNUAL BIG CHEESE CUT (Oak Bay) Come see the kitchen boys and girls of Ottavio cut the largest wheels of cheese made in the world today. Watch as they crack, cut and slice their way through the world’s oldest cheeses. Learn about the animals and families that have produced these beauties for generations. Taste the history and tradition of the cheese making craft. They will be starting with some smaller wheels of artisan cheeses from Quebec and move through to the Italian king, Parmigiano Reggiano, and up to the 225 kg behemoth, the organic, Swiss mountain Emmenthal. Samplings and specials on all cheeses cut. A great free event for the whole family. Apr 25. ( ART ‘N FACTS OF WINE (Victoria) Taste the enchanting array of spring wine releases from Naramata Bench Wineries, along with delectable food samples from Victoria’s finest chefs, charcuteries, cheese shops and bakeries, at this exclusive event. Meet the winemakers and learn about the art of wine from this unique and highly regarded terroir in BC’s Okanagan Valley, all in support of the programs and exhibitions at the Royal British Columbia Museum, $95. 28. Apr Foundation. Museum BC Royal the through ( 8TH ANNUAL DINING OUT FOR LIFE (Vancouver Island) Imagine you could help your community by dining out at one of your favourite local restaurants. On April 30 thousands of diners will choose from some of the best (and most generous) restaurants on the island, to help raise funds in support of AIDS Vancouver Island. In 2014, with the help of over 85 amazing restaurants who donated 25% of food sales, the event raised over $40,000 in a single day!! As a result of this generosity, AIDS Vancouver Island was able to provide over 10,000 nutritious meals to people in need – from Port Hardy to Victoria. Visit for a list of participating restaurants.

ONGOING FARMERS MARKETS AT THE VICTORIA PUBLIC MARKET (Victoria) Local farmers and food producers come every Wednesday for the weekly Farmers' Market from 11AM-3PM. You can also catch them every Saturday and Sunday. You can now see which vendors will be selling on the market’s online calendar. (

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By Julie Pegg

An Irish Spring

Seafood, lamb, ham, butter, cream, root vegetables and sturdy breads are at the heart of the country’s cuisine.

THE IRISH AND NON-IRISH THE WORLD OVER unwind on Saint Patrick’s Day with a good dose of Celtic craic (Irish slang for good conversation, music and fun). Cities and towns hold jolly parades—in New Orleans, the custom of hurling everything from plastic beads to cabbages from floats into the crowd resulted in my getting pummeled in the head by a flying green orb. Publicans dole out creamy-headed Guinness (not that ghastly green stuff) from a seemingly bottomless keg. Fiddle, uilleann pipe and bodran entertain cheery quaffers with toe-tapping “sessions.” It’s a shame Irish cuisine plays second fiddle to the revelry, often whittled down to wan “Irish” stew and/or corned beef and cabbage, which, funnily enough, isn’t even served in Ireland. There, folks pack local pubs and eateries after mass for a good rib-sticking lunch. Easter is inclined to be more of a family affair. Fresh seafood, lamb or ham, butter, cream, cheeses, root vegetables and sturdy breads lie at the heart of the matter and the food is “grand” indeed. I highly recommend ramping things up with some bloody fine Irish fare this Saint Patrick’s Day and Easter. Beginning with Irish stew. Purists maintain an Irish stew should contain little more than hogget or mutton chops layered with potatoes, water and onions and seasoned simply with salt, pepper and parsley. The stew is covered and cooked in a slow oven, the lid lifted during the final stages so potatoes can crisp under the broiler. Dead easy to make, this simple stew is surprisingly flavourful. Carrots, turnips, potatoes and barley have crept into most of today’s Irish stew recipes. I embrace this tradition too—less the barley. Yotam Ottolenghi, the revered Israeli chef (now based in London), however, takes his “sort-of” Irish stew deliciously over the top with whole wheat, celeriac, white wine, oregano, thyme and a garlic paste for drizzling.

Irish ham ranks among the best I’ve had. Its woodsy note results from being cured and smoked over juniper or peat while the meat remains raw. A good country ham does the trick too. Don’t mess about with a good ham—just soak (to remove salt), boil, bake and baste occasionally with a mixture of whiskey, dried mustard and a touch of brown sugar. Colcannon, a luxurious meld of mashed potatoes, cabbage (or kale) and cream, is the ultimate side dish. Do as the Irish do. Make a well in the potatoes and fill with melted butter. If early spring weather is kind, accompany the meal with steamed baby asparagus spears. Cockle soup, a soul-soothing concoction of cockles (tiny seawater clams), onions, celery and cream is rather like clam chowder without the spuds. Simply sub in tiny cherrystone clams for the cockles. Dig into a hearty bowlful along with a wedge of soda or wheaten bread (soda bread made with rolled oats and whole grain flour instead of white flour) slathered with creamery butter. Even better, fashion the soda bread recipe— use buttermilk, please—into seaweed scones. Add dried and toasted dulce or roughly chopped seaweed that has been soaked until soft (about ten minutes) and cookie-cut into thick rounds. Kick up the dough, if you like, with a dash of Keen’s mustard, chopped chives, crumbled goat cheese or a handful of grated Irish cheddar. Easter usually signifies a day at the (horse) races and roast Irish lamb at the table. Wellknown young Dubliner singer and food personality Donal Skehan likes to serve roastedwild-garlic-stuffed lamb with braised baby lettuce and peas. The doyenne of Irish cooking, Darina Allen (Ballymaloe Cooking School), advocates a traditional Easter lunch of succulent lamb and mint sauce—with asparagus spears napped with Hollandaise on toast as the starter and rhubarb tart to finish. This is my idea of an Easter menu, perhaps with roasted beets and carrots to go with the lamb and some Cashel Blue or Irish cheddar to finish. If Saint Paddy’s Day overindulgence figures in, a full Irish fry-up the next morning sets you straight. That means strong tea and goodly helpings of toast, eggs, beans, grilled tomatoes and—best of all—grilled black pudding (blood sausage) and white pudding (pork meat and oatmeal). Top of the mornin’ to you! E MARCH | APRIL 2015


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By Pam Durkin

Consume the Legume

Inexpensive, versatile and full of nutrients, the humble pod is a protein powerhouse. THOUGH THE GENERAL PUBLIC MAY DISMISS them as “flatulence instigators” or “poor man’s protein,” legumes are unanimously heralded as super-foods by nutritional experts worldwide. Indeed, iconic health gurus like Mehmet Oz, Joel Fuhrman and Andrew Weil recommend the daily consumption of legumes as a means to enhance health and promote longevity. Science concurs. An amassing body of evidence suggests eating beans and other legumes on a regular basis can help prevent everything from cancer to obesity. Thankfully, in addition to being über-healthy, legumes are also versatile, flavourful and easy to incorporate into your diet in fun and delicious ways. What exactly IS a legume? The term is ascribed to the edible pods and seeds of certain plants and include beans, soybeans, lentils, peas and peanuts. And while there are many different varieties of legumes, each with their own unique flavour and texture, they all have one thing in common—they pack a nutritional wallop unrivalled by most foods. Legumes are literally teeming with vital nutrients, including calcium, copper, folic acid, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorous, selenium and zinc. In addition, they’re loaded with certain disease-fighting phytochemicals that have been shown to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. What’s more, they are an excellent source of virtually fat- and cholesterol-free plant protein and fibre. Not surprisingly, this powerhouse blend of nutrients can help enhance human health in myriad ways. For instance, regular bean consumption can help stave off heart disease by reducing LDL cholesterol, high blood pressure and inflammation markers in the body. Emerging research indicates it can also reduce the risk factors for metabolic syndrome, a key player in the development of cardiovascular disease. And there is more good news about noshing on beans. The healthy dining habit can help in the prevention and management of Type-2 diabetes. Legumes’ soluble fibre content helps stabilize blood sugar levels and increases cells’ sensitivity to insulin. Furthermore, scientists have discovered diets high in legumes can help fight obesity—a known risk factor for Type-2 diabetes. If all this wasn’t impressive enough, consider this: the bioactive compounds found in legumes—namely phytochemicals, saponins and tannins—have all been shown to inhibit cancer cell growth. Undoubtedly the most surprising health-enhancing nutrient found in legumes is phytic acid. Phytic acid (aka phytate) is the storage form of phosphorous and it is often considered an “anti-nutrient” due to its propensity to bind minerals like iron in the digestive tract, rendering them less “bioavailable.” Citing this anti-nutrient quality, proponents of the popular Paleo diet eschew legumes altogether. Their reasoning, however, is both faulty and unscientific. Here’s why. Our bodies regulate phytate levels very well; most phytates are degraded in the stomach and small intestine. Furthermore, preparation methods such as soaking, cooking, sprouting and fermenting all help to dramatically reduce phytate levels in foods. (Phytates are also found in grains and nuts.) Simply adding vitamin C-rich foods or vinegar to a meal replete with phytates will diminish their levels even further. However, it may actually be unnecessary AND unhealthy to completely eradicate the phytates in foods. The latest research reveals this once vilified anti-nutrient can help enhance the activity of natural killer cells and inhibit tumor growth. In addition, several preliminary studies suggest it can also help prevent plaque formation and hardening of the arteries. With their reputation as a super-food confirmed, allow me to highlight legume’s versatility as a kitchen staple. Just as there are many different types of legumes, there are ever more ways to cook and flavour them. They can be used whole, pureed or ground into flour and incorporated into entrees, soups, stews, vegan burgers, desserts and more. Although it’s cheaper to buy the dried varieties and soak and cook them yourself, canned varieties offer irresistible convenience for just a few pennies more. There’s also a wealth of healthy “prepared” legume dishes readily available at better markets—from take-out salads to enchiladas, burritos and ethnic stews. Why not try a few and join in the chorus of pod praisers. Your body will thank you! E



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Tofino - as ‘boat to table’ as it gets. COME FEAST WITH US

What’s on your plate this evening?

FEAST TOFINO May 8-24 For information about all the exciting culinary events on or near the water, visit MODERN FINE DINING EAT WELL. HAVE FUN.



Share #yourtofino tourismtofino @tourism_tofino tourismtofino MARCH | APRIL 2015


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By Sylvia Weinstock


Delicious woodsy morels signal the arrival of spring.


MORELS ARE A GOURMET’S DREAM FOOD and one of the world’s most beloved wild mushrooms. These delectable morsels are foraged by dedicated experienced pickers from April to June; they can’t be grown commercially. Morels grow near dead or dying trees, in old fruit orchards and in areas recently burned by forest fires. It’s not surprising they are expensive: Their harvest season is brief, they are extremely perishable and are difficult to hunt and gather. Morels can be tan, yellow, grey, dark brown, or black with white ridges. They can range in size from one to twelves inches, although most are between two to four inches tall. Their plump, sponge-like hollow caps, which resemble honeycombs, pinecones— or the brain of an SNL Conehead—perch on thick hollow stems. Morels have a smoky, nutty, earthy, meaty flavour and a firm texture. The darker the morel, the more intense the mushroom’s flavour profile. When purchasing morels, choose mushrooms with firm, moist, spongy caps. (Always buy them from a trusted source; false morels are toxic.) Plan to prepare and eat them the same day you purchase them. They should never be eaten raw and must be thoroughly cleaned and allowed to air-dry just before they are cooked. Their intricate caps hold dirt, insects, larvae and other forest debris. Gently brush the dirt off them, shake them, and place them in a large bowl of cold water, gently stirring the water and allowing them to sit for ten minutes. Then, give each mushroom a gentle shake in the water and let them dry completely on paper towels. The K.I.S.S. rule is best when cooking with morels. Keep recipes simple to allow their unique flavour to shine. Sweat them in butter with shallots, Madeira or dry vermouth and fresh tarragon leaves. Their flavour marries beautifully with fiddleheads, wild chinook salmon, lamb and other spring delights. Spread crostini with a puree of cooked fava beans, garlic, lemon juice and grated Parmesan, add a smear of fresh ricotta and top with sautéed morels. Try homemade pizza crust with sautéed morels, red onions, asparagus and Gruyere cheese. If you can’t find fresh morels in a local supermarket, specialty produce store or farmer’s market, they can be ordered from Vancouver’s Pacific Rim Mushrooms. Dried morels are available year-round. (Check out to find a nearby store that sells their dried morels.) They have a chewier texture and a more intense flavour than fresh morels. To reconstitute them before cooking, cover them with tepid water and soak them for half an hour until they are plump. Drain them and use the soaking liquid to make broth. Don’t miss the short-lived morel season. These down-to-earth morsels will elevate your spring dishes. E

Fresh Morels, Asparagus and Gnocchi (Serves 2) 6 fresh morels, washed and dried Extra virgin olive oil 8 thin asparagus spears, trimmed and cut in thirds ¼ cup roasted red peppers, diced 4 water-packed canned artichoke hearts, sliced 1 9-ounce package of fresh gnocchi, boiled and drained Salt and fresh black pepper to taste

Slice morels in half lengthwise. Heat 3 teaspoons of olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over



medium-high heat. Add morels and a pinch of salt. Sauté for 3 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add more olive oil to the hot pan and sauté asparagus, peppers and artichoke hearts until tender. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add more oil to the hot pan and sauté the cooked gnocchi until it is golden brown. Add the asparagus mixture to the pan and toss gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Plate, top with morels, and serve.

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By Jeremy Ferguson

The ABC of Chinese Food

A childhood love of almond breaded chicken turns into a lifelong quest.

LIKE SO MANY OF US SO LONG AGO, I discovered Chinese food as a kid desperate for an alternative to the pleasure-free, English-Irish-Scottish fare that prevailed through the 1950s. That quest led me and my pals to five-burp eateries all trumpeting “worldfamous Canadian and Chinese food.” Remember egg roll, sweet-and-sour spareribs (nasty little knuckles of bone in red sauce), chop suey and fried rice, piled high on a combo plate for 75 cents? Simple fare though it was, it made Marco Polos of us. Finally tired of knuckles and ready to stretch our allowances, we dallied with chicken balls (at least you could chew them), then made the jump into the big time: soo guy or war sui gai they called it, almond breaded chicken or, as it is in inner circles, ABC. Soo guy was a mysterious pleasure: tender, light and fluffy chicken breast breaded and crisply deep-fried, scattered with toasted chopped almonds and served with a brown gravy. A Cantonese variation on what you’d find at the bogus Kentucky colonel’s. But there was a difference, this unique flavour, something nutty, something herbaceous, something that tickled our palates and lifted this dish to a plateau all its own. Decades later, we can eat real Chinese food any time we want. Yet ABC still retains its legions of followers. We might even outnumber one of Kublai Khan’s armies. It is, of course, an American take on Chinese food; I’ve travelled the Middle Kingdom 11 times from the East China Sea to the Taklamakan Desert in the far west and never found it on a menu. The dish appeared first in Detroit, of all places. Five years ago, the Detroit Free Press named it the dish that defines the city on the American culinary map. It’s a good guess ABC crossed the Windsor-Detroit Bridge and became a staple in Ontario and other parts of Canada. The challenge came with the Hong Kong exodus of the 1980s. Suddenly, it was bye, bye, almond breaded chicken, hello Peking duck, Sichuan eggplant, Hunan lamb and Yunnan ham. How grand it is: Canadians are still discovering what happens when a culture spends 5,000 years tinkering in a kitchen. This sweep of foodie history, however, seems to have rushed right past Victoria. Poor us. The old Cantonese favourites remain firmly entrenched here. At times, you’d swear our Chinatown menus haven’t changed since 1951. But did we really want to see it swept away? At the unassuming and packed Halibut House (3500 Quadra, 250-385-4944), the father-and-son brigade of Yuk-Chi and Wesley Ieung works feverishly in the kitchen, turning out such masterful dishes as the fluffiest shrimp dumplings in town, crispy ginger fried beef and salt-and-pepper squid. The human hurricane running the front of the house is Sherry Ieung, who knows regulars on a first-name basis and welcomes newbies who think it’s too good to be true. This is the place I’d send my friends for an almond breaded chicken hit. Yet on the homefront, ABC continues to flummox us. It’s that mystery flavour, which, we’ve determined, lies in the batter, not the chicken, not the gravy. I’ve scanned dozens of recipes and never come up with anything more exotic than corn oil, baking soda, corn starch and flour. Almond flour might still be it, but so far it hasn’t worked for us. I’ve also polled Cantonese chefs and Hong Kong immigrants about this for years, and although every short-order Chinese cook in Canada seems to know the secret, nobody spills. Even Google falters here. So here I am on bended knee, dear readers: Does anyone out there have the secret? If you do, puh-lease pass it on and fulfill my decades-long quest. But do forgive me if I don’t respond. I’m off to Detroit, where rumour says every restaurant left standing is offering almond breaded chicken. I may not be home for a while. E You can reach Jeremy with your suggestion for the secret ingredient by writing to the

d prou our fy o r e b mem munity com 2002 since


450 swift street | victoria bc

Swan™ lounge chair by Arne Jacobsen 1958 MARCH | APRIL 2015


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Cactus Club 1125 Douglas St., Victoria | 250-361-3233 | Now I understand the logical fallacy that led to my prejudice. I had never been to Cactus Club Cafe before January because I had mentally equated “chain” with “roadhouse.” And so, being at times an unspeakable snob, I had walked on by. Now I understand that I have been missing out, because Cactus Club is in its own special category. It offers high-end dining for medium-end pricing. The executive chef is Rob Feenie, of Lumière fame in Vancouver. He is not a mere figurehead; he has developed many of the dishes on the menu, and he is present, at various times, in the kitchens of all the restaurants of the expanding B.C. chain. He was in fact in Victoria the day I happened to be there. The Soy-Dijon Salmon for $24.75 offers some overlap with Lumière, as a velvety sauce of Dijon, butter and soy soaks into a large slab of perfectly flaky salmon served over shiitake and snap peas on a bed of pearl barley. The B.C.caught salmon is Ocean Wise certified. If the salmon is ladylike (assuming ladies have big

Cactus Club Victoria Chef Bobby Bridger appetites), Rob’s Hunter Chicken for $23.75 is the scent-of-soft-leather, manly dish. A dusky, dark demi-glace glistening with a generous butter finish surrounds a large, tender chicken breast topped with sautéed portobello, cremini and shiitake mushrooms and accompanied by quartered yellow potatoes and crisply cooked green beans. For simpler fare, the Feenie Burger for $16.50 is big, fat and juicy. It is topped with smoked bacon, aged cheddar and plenty of pickle, and comes with fries. If you’re hungry enough for a starter, the Ravioli and Prawns for $13.50 is exquisite. Imagine a magic carpet of a large squash-filled ravioli, with a cushion of jumbo prawn in truffle butter and, riding the top like a little Aladdin, a leaf of intensely flavourful fried sage. In Victoria, there’s a business crowd at lunch and a younger crowd in the evening, but the point is that there is often a crowd, and for good reason. BY ELIZABETH MONK

Rob’s Hunter Chicken



photo: Rebecca Wellman


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The Oaks Restaurant and Grill 2250 Oak Bay Ave., Victoria | 250-590-3155

Rebecca Wellman

OLO left: Chef’s signature crab cakes right: Chef Nick Hopkins and Ditza Hopkins

a farm to table restaurant

Over the past decade, Oak Bay Village has slowly changed. There are now more art galleries than banks along Oak Bay Avenue—and there are a lot of banks. The Blethering Place Tea Room anchored the Village’s faux-British charm for years beginning in 1975 when an ordained parson from Scotland opened The Parson’s Blethering Place in the 1912-built former grocery store and post office. Ken Agate bought the teahouse in 1981, shortened the name to The Blethering Place, and for three decades doubled down on the room’s British emphasis. After an attempt to modernize the business in 2011 failed, chef Nick Hopkins bought the room in November 2012 and changed the name to The Oaks. His wife, Dee, has been waitressing since she was 16 and manages front of house with a relaxed, welcoming smile. “I cooked all over Calgary after graduating from SAIT’s culinary program, ran a catering company in 2007 and 2008, and was one of the largest aboriginal employers in northern Saskatchewan. But Dee is the boss,” Nick adds. “I sold the catering business and bought The Oaks.” Hopkins makes everything from scratch. All the baking is produced in-house, including the scones and other pastries featured in his popular tea menu. The daily soups are seasonal and hearty. “Our customers get upset when butternut squash season ends. They love my butternut soup.” The burly, stubble-bearded chef laughs, leaning his heavily tattooed forearms on the table. “We roast turkey for our sandwich meat and make all our own gravy. Our crab cakes are made from real crabmeat. That’s one of our most popular dishes, that and our house-braised short ribs,” Hopkins continues while adjusting his grey, Led Zeppelin ball cap. “The short ribs are braised in stout, and they’re used in our most popular all-day breakfast dish: short rib hash with poached eggs and hash browns.” “We want to make this a community meeting spot, a homey, neighbourhood place,” Dee adds, “and we’re getting great response for our live music offerings on Friday nights.” Local bands like Rig-a-Jig, Old Black Rum and Bijoux du Bayou play The Oaks regularly, and on the first Sunday night of every month, Stephen Brown & Bastion Band plays traditional New Orleans jazz. Dee and Nick’s commitment to the neighbourhood is underlined by their support of the Community Association of Oak Bay’s totem pole project. They’re giving the volunteer group the venue for a series of monthly benefit concerts to raise a pole in front of the new, $50-million Oak Bay High. First Nations Night in Oak Bay is scheduled for March 28 at The Oaks, and acclaimed jazz vocalist Joe Coughlin joins Dr. Tony Genge on the B3 organ April 18. “We’re adding more British dishes to our menu, more curries and stews, bangers and mash and meat pies,” Nick said before heading back to his kitchen. “But we’re going to cook a special, aboriginal-inspired menu for First Nations Night,” Dee adds with a big smile. E BY JOSEPH BLAKE MARCH | APRIL 2015


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Shelora Sheldan goes back to a couple of restaurants to see what changes have taken place.

Lamb Merguez sausage, carrot puree, roasted sunchokes, carrot parsley and mint salad

Stage Wine Bar | WHEN GRAHAM MECKLING TOOK OVER the ownership of Stage from George and Linda Szasz in 2012, the Fernwood establishment had already enjoyed a solid five-year run of success. Meckling slipped into his new role with natural ease and style. No major changes were implemented. The small plates menu, cocktails and wines-by-the-glass program remained in place. It just got better and livelier, especially the menu. Enter chef Sam Harris in March of last year, injecting those small plates with lively sparks of creativity, the kind that make you sit up and take notice. While regulars can still relish the greatest hits of octopus, steamed mussels and merguez sausage with seasonal flourishes, Harris has added new dishes worthy of note. Steak tartare is one of them. Two Rivers top sirloin, hand chopped to order, sees the classic shallots, mustard and cornichons presented topped with a quail egg and chopped chives. Served with grilled bread, the mixture is a heavenly blend of textures on the palate. So too the grilled halloumi. Held atop a vibrant salad of couscous with fennel, radishes, cucumber and arugula, bright, crunchy textures cut through the cheese’s saltiness, as does its coat of herb vinaigrette. Harris brings a wealth of experience to the kitchen table, from “chasing hotel excellence” at some of B.C.’s top properties, to cooking at Vancouver’s Bishop’s, to butchery and charcuterie training at Two Rivers Meats and Choux Choux Charcuterie. Star billing goes to the bavette, that unsung cut of beef grilled medium-rare, a plate of tender lusciousness served with a sticky jus and a seasonal mix of turnips, kale and mizuna. A housemade XO sauce delivers umami pow to a dish of risotto and seared scallops with house pancetta “chips.” Bravo! Or dig in to Harris’s beefed-up charcuterie list with smoked duck pastrami, capicollo, mortadella and smoked fish. Stage continues its stellar ascent. Cue applause! 1307 Gladstone Ave. | 250-388-4222 |



Chef Sam Harris

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Unsworth Restaurant | IT’S CHEF STEVEN ELSKEN’S DEEP connection to the Island’s natural beauty and abundance of local ingredients that directs the new menu at Unsworth Restaurant. With its stunning vineyard, orchard and garden views, the dining room, set in a 1900 heritage house at Unsworth Winery, confirms its sense of place in the heart of the Cowichan Valley. The Belgium-born Elskens first set foot on Vancouver Island in 2001. One work visa led to another before he made the Island his permanent home. As a chef with a successful catering business, he’s built relationships with the valley’s purveyors, farmers and fishers, and with his wife and partner Christle Pope, who affably runs the front of house at the restaurant. His small plates menu sings of the seasons, and winter’s song was showcased the sunny December afternoon I dined there. It was a fitting segue from the restaurant’s opening chef, Brad Boisvert, who has moved to Cherry Point Vineyards and Cure Artisan Meats and Cheese in Cobble Hill. Elskens shows real flair with vegetable-based fare. Case in point: bright green Savoy cabbage rolls

stuffed with a gingery mix of millet and mushrooms sat in a vibrant silky sauce of sweet and sour beets. The plump rolls, presented with a bouffant top of fresh sprouts and bright orange crispy shoestring carrots, were a flavourful fiesta of colour and texture. A red beet salad, tossed in an orange-harissa vinaigrette, was topped with a warm roasted pear, crumbles of melted local blue cheese and toasted walnuts, a playful dish of contrasting temperatures. His layering of flavours and colours is also found with s eafood and meat dishes. Fragrant fennel-cured gravlax sat amongst a fingerling and purple potato salad topped with a poached egg and a bright hit of fresh watercress. And a tender grilled skirt steak on Well Bred bakery bread came with roasted cauliflower, a creamy rutabaga puree and chimichurri butter with herbs and a hit of spice. Change can make regular customers nervous, but the changes at this wonderful destination inspire a road trip. Unsworth Restaurant at Unsworth Vineyard | 2915 Cameron Taggart Rd. | 250-929-2292 | Cobble Hill, B.C. |

Victoria’s premier farmers market

continues year-round Indoors

MSM Winter Market Nov-Apr, Saturdays, 10-noon With your favourite local organic farmers warm and dry in the

Garry Oak Room Moss St. Market

Parking off Thurlow, Sir James Douglas school parking lot. See website for details. MARCH | APRIL 2015


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By Elizabeth Monk

Hot and New, Tried and True A downtown sophisticate, a Sidney pub and a spicy takeout surprise.

Mai Mai’s 525 Fort St at Langley | Victoria | 250-590-8848

Elizabeth Nyland

Elizabeth Nyland

top left: Goat Cheese and Fig Poppers top right: Chef Jo Jo in front of the bar bottom: Peppered Tuna Tataki My theme message about Mai Mai’s is “for the love of god.” For the love of god, bring a gang and be the happening trendsetters in this newly opened restaurant. Get there while the food and drinks are so underpriced. This place will be very hot, very soon. It has a sophisticated New York City vibe and creative and exquisite food that blends Asian, French and West Coast with confidence and delicacy. Peppered Tuna Tataki, at $14, is treated like a French steak with a peppercorn crust. It is lightly seared, remaining deep pink and succulent. It is served on a papaya and daikon slaw, the clean, grassy notes of the salad underpinned by the earthy subtext of truffle oil from the oil and ponzu dressing. At a mere $7, the Mai Mai roll also offers a sophisticated, multicultural blend of flavours, with its goat cheese



and avocado filling and a crisp finish of tempura asparagus. An intriguing soy sauce and brown sugar reduction is drizzled over top. French meets Asian once again in an appetizer of Goat Cheese and Fig Poppers. Figs are soaked in red wine and sugar to soften and are then blended with goat cheese and stuffed inside wonton wrappers. A Thai sweet chili balsamic reduction accompanies this dish. The cocktails reflect a playful but knowledgeable melding of flavours, with treats like Raspberry Mint Ginger Caipiroska and BourbonSteeped Iced Tea. There’s a generous happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m., with $5 for pints and some wines and highballs. And from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., a selection of food is half-price, reason enough to become nocturnal.

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Mary’s Bleue Moon Café 9535 Canora Rd., Sidney, 250-655-4450


RAISING THE BAR Chef Jesse Cole joins the team at Little Jumbo

Elizabeth Nyland


left: Blue Moon Burger (A peppercorn coated patty topped with a blue cheese dressing and mozzarella cheese.) right: Steamed Mussels in a tomato garlic broth I know of no place in the Victoria area quite like Mary’s Bleue Moon Café. Being there is like being warmly invited into the doublewide of a kind family that happens to really, really, like airplanes. This pub near the airport, which does look like a doublewide from the outside, but stretches back into a pub that’s bigger than it seems, has been around since 1939, feeding World War II pilots and crew. And they have the photos and memorabilia on the wall to prove it. You come for the history, but also, happily, for the food, which is in the category of “pub food done well.” The large plate of calamari on the appetizer menu for $12.99 is a notch above the norm, seasoned as it is with a hint of curry powder. The mussels for $13.99 would not be out of place in a finer dining establishment, with their rich, fulsome sauce of pesto, cream and sherry. But sometimes in a pub, you just want classic pub food. The fish and chips is a winner. One piece of cod is $9.99; two pieces are $13.99. The fish is moist and flaky, with no trace of grease on the batter. The coleslaw is excellent because it is lightly dressed, avoiding a quality that might not be in the Larousse Gastronomique but is definitely in my lexicon: gloppy. Theirs is not. The signature Moon Burger, for $12.59 is encrusted with peppercorns, served with blue cheese mayo and melted mozzarella, and includes fries or salad. I recommend the house-made tarragon cream dressing. Since it’s possible you may arrive by car rather than by World War II bomber, I should mention the extra parking across the road from the restaurant.

Wrap ’n’ Roll

Wrap ’n’ Roll, 1885 Fort St. near Richmond, 250-383-7655 Wrap ’n’ Roll looks like a place I’d usually never go into. From the outside it gives off the vibe of one of those molded plastic places that sell cardboard pizza. But be intrepid, dear reader, because this cruel disguise actually masks the beauty inside a bustling Lebanese-Canadian family producing tasty, garlicky, Middle Eastern wraps and pastries with intriguing names like “Soujouk” and “Makanek.” The Soujouk Wrap is basically a garlic-with-garlic concoction: zesty garlic sausage, feisty garlic mayonnaise and turnip pickle, lettuce and tomato wrapped in a tender pita lightly grilled to give it a bit of crunch. Sometimes medical staff from the Royal Jubilee Hospital across the road want to avoid breathing garlic on their patients but still want a flavour kick. They opt for the Makanek Wrap, a special Lebanese sausage richly spiced with nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. The meat in the Lamb Kafta Wrap, by contrast, has more of an emphasis on onions and cumin and is slathered in a yogurt and dill sauce. These wraps all go for between $5.50 and $6. Savoury Lebanese pastries are available too, such as the Cheese Fatayer for $1.50, which looks like a soft samosa and is stuffed with three cheeses: feta, mozzarella and Lebanese akkawi. In true Canadian style, the owners Moe, Afaf and Fatima have created a cross-cultural invention that is one of my favourites: the chicken pie for $2.50 is lightly curried chicken in a flaky phyllo pastry. Delicious. For those who want to eat in, there are five bar stools. Photo on pg. 3

ucked down a hallway at the harbour end of Fort Street, you can hear the buzz before you open the door and fall into this room that won Best Commercial Design on Vancouver Island in 2014. You will be delighted with the warmth and your time travel back to prohibition era. Inspired by the best bars in New Orleans, Austin, Seattle and Portland, this is a restaurant with superb food and a complete beverage program. Little Jumbo’s cocktail creativity has been headed by Nate Caudle, Bar Manager since opening in August 2013. Caudle and his team deliver a new set of original cocktails every 6 weeks to delight all tastes, as well as finely crafted classics. Not yet 1½ years old, Little Jumbo has garnered public recognition in enRoute People’s Choice categories including Top 35 Canada's Best New Restaurant (2014) and Top 100 Favorite Bars in Canada. Caudle took top position in Art of the Cocktail - Best Bartender, Pacific Northwest in both 2013 & 2014. Tales of the Cocktail placed Little Jumbo in the Top 10 - Best New International Cocktail Bars 2014. When one of its three owners was approached at the one-year anniversary event last August and asked what the plan was for year two, the response was unequivocal – “continue to raise the bar... ” With that in mind, Chris Jones, local longtime restauranteur, was retained to assist in this journey and the bar has truly been raised. Much of the focus has been on moving the food to the same level that the beverage side has enjoyed since day one. Chef Jesse Cole joined the team in December and has spent the past two months conjuring up exciting new dishes for the Little Jumbo menu. Drawing from his previous years as Restaurant Chef at AURA waterfront restaurant + patio, Cole has brought his refined touch and exciting new concepts to the table. With the launch of a new and creative menu, Chef Cole has added platters to the food offerings where diners can enjoy group-sized boards such as “The Big Smoke” a charcuterie platter, “The Big Sea” a local seafood platter, and “The Big Duck” a platter utilizing every part of a whole duck including duck breasts, duck legs confit, crispy smoked duck wings and duck rillettes. Along with this sharing style concept, Cole will also be releasing a “Happy Hour” style menu consisting of Little Jumbo favourites at a reduced price. This will be available every day from 4pm-5:30pm starting March 15. Ultimately, what Little Jumbo strives for is an excellent overall customer experience. Open later than other Victoria restaurants and fully accessible, this remains one of Victoria’s hidden gems. Little Jumbo Restaurant & Bar, 506 Fort St., near Wharf, 778-433-5535, Open Tuesday - Sunday 5:00 to Midnight. Fridays & Saturdays to 1:00am (with a 4:00pm opening time for Happy Hour effective March 15, 2015) MARCH | APRIL 2015


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Terroir 2015

Chef Ned Bell to speak about Chefs For Oceans

K. Rosenburb



ry y e v E sda r Thu


O 4 0 % NE


NED BELL IS HAVING A MOMENT AND HE HAS THE FISH TO THANK. Bell, the executive chef at the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver and Yew seafood & bar (known around town for innovative and sustainable seafood), was named chef of the year by Kostuch Media at their 26th annual Pinnacle Awards — the culinary Oscars of Canada. “Do you really win the award or are you recognized?” asks Bell. “I’ve been in this business a long time. You do your best and you do stuff that matters and hopefully people are engaged your work.” In part, the accolades are the result of Bell's dedication to seafood education among his peers. The Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver became the first luxury property in Canada to be 100 per cent Ocean Wise certified. Bell didn’t stop there. Founded in 2014, Chefs for Oceans aims to educate the food industry on the importance of Ned Bell at Cook Culture where he sustainable seafood practices. Bell is the driving force. Last summer he traveled across Canada, teaches a cooking class each month. clocking over 8000km and hosting a total of 24 events and demonstrations. He biked the entire route. Just because he could. “I really wanted to do something that would make people ask, ‘Do you know that chef who’s riding his bike across Canada?’” says Bell, adding the journey wasn’t just a physical challenge. It tested his mental and emotional health as well. If the Pinnacle award and cross country cycle weren't enough, Bell has been selected to speak at the 2015 Terroir Symposium, May 10 to 13 in Toronto. “Terroir is a hospitality symposium dedicated to individuals in the restaurant business that are passionate about their industry,” says Arlene Stein, the founder and chair of Terroir. The symposium, now in its ninth year, brings together the brightest culinary minds from around the global. “Terroir means a ‘sense of place’ and we use this expression metaphorically to explain our gathering and the community that comes together. It’s an opportunity for like-minded people to share and build networks,” says Stein. This year's presenter billing includes industry darling Ruth Reichl, Canadian television personality and Toronto restaurateur Mark McEwan and fellow West Coaster David Hawksworth of Hawksworth Restaurant. Each invitee presents — think 25 TED Talks with food at the heart of each story. For Bell, that's seafood. “If we continue to overfish, by 2050 we could face a global fisheries collapse. Overfishing is the largest threat facing the oceans today,” says Bell. Getting his peers on board is paramount. “Chefs for Oceans, as much as it’s about the three oceans that surround Canada, it’s also about the seven oceans around the world. It’s a huge conversation, so you need to drill it down to the community. On the West Coast, that means we’re talking about halibut, sablefish and albacore tuna. On the East Coast, it’s all about mussels, clams and lobster.” Stein agrees that community and place is the key. “Cuisine is regional and is defined not by political boundaries, but by geography, ecology, history and culture. We should embrace our diversity and be proud that we have so much abundance in this country we call Canada.” Bell will focus his Terroir talk on good practice fish farming — bringing the farms out of the ocean and onto land. “What I realized on my trip across Canada was most chefs are really curious about what they’re putting on their menus. You don’t meet many chefs who are worth their salt that don’t like feeding their customers. This is highlighted on the coasts, but it doesn’t make it any less important to chefs in Calgary or Saskatoon to be clued into where fish comes from.” During his stay in Toronto, Bell will also host a sustainable seafood event, where he wants to engage not only chefs, but NGOs. Within the next decade, Bell hopes Chefs for Oceans can establish a national seafood day in Canada and have sustainable seafood accessible to every Canadian. Ned Bell’s moment is far from over. As he puts it, “This is seafood with a story.” —By Kaitlyn Rosenburg Terroir 2015 takes place in Toronto May 10 -13, 2015. For more information on Chefs for Oceans go to



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Mayahuel Flame

Gary Hynes

One of the biggest trends in cocktails worldwide right now is vinegar. That’s right. Mouth-puckering mixtures called “shrubs” and “switchels,” as well as drinking vinegars, kombuchas and kefirs, are huge in bars at the moment, not only for their health benefits but because they can provide an acid complexity that citrus juice can’t match.



A SHRUB IS VINEGARED SYRUP made with spirit, water or carbonated soda while a switchel is a molasses-based drinking vinegar from the colonial Caribbean at the turn of the last century. One of the main reasons for using these vinegars is to preserve the fruit of the season for the colder months, just like one would make jams and canned preserves. The popularity of these vinegars has grown in recent years because of their versatility in cocktails, adding both a tart acidity and a distinct flavour. When creating a spirit-forward drink that may need acidity without the addition of citrus juice, plain vinegar or a flavoured vinegar is the answer. Preparing these vinegars is pretty straightforward and can be tackled by the most amateur of home bartenders. When making a “shrub” from soft fruits such as local berries, natural sugar extraction is the easiest way of keeping the brightness of the fruit through the process. This method calls for no heat but uses time to extract the juice from the fruit. Start by packing a jar one-third full of white sugar, add another third of berries, plums or other soft fruit and then top with more sugar. Let sit for a few days and you will see the juice from the fruit slowly seep into the sugar. Once the fruit has broken down, add your vinegar (makes one litre) and stir or shake till it’s dissolved. Choosing what kind of vinegar is up to you. You can use plain white wine vinegar or apple You can also add a gentle heat to shrubs for harder-to-extract ingredients such as ginger and carrot. Keep in mind that as heat is added, flavours change from bright to stewed.

Mayahuel Flame 2 oz (60 mL) reposado tequila ½ oz (15 mL) Green Tea and Serrano Chili Amaro 2/3 oz (20 mL) Ginger and Honey Shrub (recipe below) 2/3 oz (20 mL) grapefruit juice Combine ingredients. Shake with ice and double-strain over an ice globe into a stemless wine glass or old-fashioned glass. Garnish with a fat grapefruit twist. Ginger and Honey Shrub 3 knobs ginger, rough skin removed and chopped 5 oz (150 mL) honey 10 oz (300 mL) hot water 4 cups (1 L) white sugar 10 oz (300 mL) apple cider vinegar


Place ginger, honey and hot water in a food processor. Blend into a paste, then pour into a saucepot. Add sugar and apple cider vinegar and simmer over medium-low for 15 minutes. Pour unstrained into bottle.



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The Village Pop-Ups: Ramen travels from afar to an unlikely destination by Jon Johnson

Chris (left) and Aaron (right) of Menma Ramen 22


I’m heading to a pop-up on a chilly Saturday night in Royal Oak. By pure chance, I’ve caught wind that a ramen pop-up event is being hosted on two nights by one of my favorite local diners, The Village. The Estevan Village event was the night prior (which sold out in 12 hours, I’m told), and I’m on my way to the Royal Oak iteration. I have no idea what to expect: a ramen pop-up hosted in a once-was-Jewish-diner? What’s more, a duo all the way from Brooklyn is the one being featured here. I mean, fundamentally, I understand how people can get from Point A to Point B (you know, planes or cars), but how is a ramen pop-up duo from Brooklyn possibly connected to a yyj breakfast joint? I’ve a few questions, I’m cold, it’s dark out, I’m listening to Dune on tape while driving, and I’m also pretty hungry — I’m feeling many things. As expected, The Village is a flurry of activity. The Village owner Jason Chan greets me and immediately pulls me into the kitchen. About eight (maybe more?) individuals are crammed into the kitchen, and it is busy. Hands are shaken, names are thrown about, and I’m told that pretty much everyone here is family. I’m soon introduced to the masterminds behind the ramen I’m to experience later in the evening — Aaron Lloyd Barr and Chris Konya who, together, compose Menma Ramen. How did they get here? Honestly, I’m not really sure. Chris grew up in LA, and her family (from what I can tell) is now scattered across the Pacific Northwest, with her brother living in Seattle. Somehow, there’s a West Coast connection to Jason of The Village. I’m still a bit confused, but I’m not sure it matters — the point is, two really talented ramen perfectionists from Brooklyn came across pretty much most of North America so a few very, very lucky people could try some exceptionally great ramen. There’s been a lot of talk of ramen, as of late. About a year ago, The Mind of a Chef devoted an entire episode to it; I recently talked about it in my “Johnson’s Jewels” article; Foo Ramen opened up just last year; and Lucky Peach recently devoted an entire day’s worth of posts to a series “The State of Ramen”. With just a tidbit of research, the complexity and passion behind ramen becomes clear — one really gets the sense that it’s an incredibly nuanced, and rewarding, culinary craft that rewards experimentation, a constant desire for refinement, and a borderline scientific approach to the whole process. The complexities of ramen, Chris tells me, made Chris and Aaron’s first venture into the ramen void a difficult one. “We tried making ramen once and it was just soup. We waited a year, tried making it again, another bowl of soup — it was good, but it took us all friggin’ night to make it, and it still just tasted like soup.” Keen on making some legitimately good, homemade ramen, Aaron and Chris reached out to Ivan from Ivan Ramen — an enormously talented ramen tech based out of Brooklyn. Ivan, Chris tells me, was the key to their ramen success, “A lot of ramen chefs like David Chang just throw everything into a big pot, and then at the end you don’t know what went wrong when your broth isn’t right. Here, we separate each flavor, and when you can taste them individually, and you can start adding or taking away certain things, and that’s how we got our first bowl — and there’s like 65 ingredients, so why throw everything together?” Having made that first successful bowl of ramen, soon enough the thought occurred to both Chris and Aaron. “One day, we were on the subway riding home, and Aaron was like ‘Hey man, we should do a pop-up.’” And here they are. Aaron gives me the run-down on their ramen, and it’s as complex to grasp as one might think. Instead of going for a traditional Tonkotsu-style ramen

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(re: pork bone broth), Aaron and Chris have opted for a “triple” blend broth consisting of three styles of broth. “We make it using pork bones that we’ve ripped down and boiled for 48 hours,” Aaron tells me, “and we also use a really clean chicken broth made from whole organic chickens, and then a Dashi.” As for the noodles, Aaron and Chris haven’t gone the “make your own” route (far too laborious, Aaron tells me, and I really do believe him), and have instead opted for Sun Noodle — a Hawaii-based artisan ramen noodle maker established in 1981. “They’re really geeky and science-y about noodles,” says Aaron, “I literally walked him through how fatty our broth was, what it’s like, and they now make noodles that are spec-ed specifically for our ramen.” In the short 15 minutes that I spend with Aaron and Chris, they offer up a wealth of detail about their ramen, and are eager to answer any of my questions — no matter how uninformed — despite approaching that “oh-my-god-we-open-in-10-minutes” point in the evening.

The place, it should be noted, is packed — like, really packed. Despite a keen desire to ask every question that I possibly can, I end up making my way back into the dining room. With beer from Hoyne on tap (free with ticket purchase), a DJ is jammin’, and I end up finding a seat with the owner of Kuma Noodle, Cam (oh, let me just pick up that name I dropped there). The place, it should be noted, is packed — like, really packed. If The Village — whether in Estevan or Royal Oak — is known for delivering a top-tier breakfast in a warm space that feels like home, this is a completely different (but still very comfortable and welcoming) kind of vibe, and it’s great. As for the ramen? Excellent, and unique from anything else I’ve tried. The broth is as nuanced and complex as Aaron and Chris suggest, and there isn’t that huge punch of salty flavor that can sometimes happen with ramen. The broth is surprisingly light, but that’s not a bad thing — it’s a lighter affair, a bit “less dirty” than other types of ramen, Jason comments, but it’s still satisfying and rich. The pork is tender, absorbent, and fatty — very good. But the highlights here are, by far, the noodles and the traditional soft-boiled egg. The Sun noodles are, in my books, about perfect: chewy and just a bit sweet, they’re exceptional. The egg is soft and explosive with flavor — salty and sweet, the yolk magically achieved that mercurial point between solid and liquid. Topped with green onions, soaked cabbage, finely chopped nori, and — the duo’s specialty — cooked and treated Menma (bamboo tips), it’s a beautiful bowl of ramen. A special thing. I’ve always loved The Village (full disclosure: The Village was one of the my hidden gems in my recent articles), and the fact that Jason and the rest of the talented Village crew are willing to put on these kinds of events further cements my opinion that they’re one of the best things going in Victoria. More pop-ups are in order, Jason tells me (look for a Pho one in the New Year), so keep your eyes peeled on this space.

Looking for Ramen in Victoria? Kuma Noodle offers my personal favorite ramen in the city. The soya broth, in particular, is exceptional. Foo Ramen provides solid ramen to Victoria’s downtown. The price point is a little higher, but the ingredients — the pork belly, in particular — are excellent. The Next Modern Japanese Cuisine opened just this past November in Cook Street Village. This place is really worth checking out (look for a “First Look” here at As for the ramen, it’s a lighter affair than what’s on offer at Kuma or Foo, but still satisfying and full of flavor. Recommended!

Craving More Ramen Knowledge? Check out Jason’s Instagram (@ramenology) MARCH | APRIL 2015


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Celebrate Victoria Beer Week March 7 - 15

SISTERS OF THE TAP Kala Hadfield - brewmaster at Spinnakers

WOMEN TAKE BACK BREWING Text by Chinda Chavich Photos by Rebecca Wellman


ala Hadfield stands in front of a stainless steel tank on the brewery floor, her pink rubber boots sticky with malty wort. Here at Spinnakers, Canada’s original brewpub, she’s literally following in her father Paul’s footsteps and now up to her blonde tresses in the art of brewing craft beer. “I always had it in the back of my head that I might like to be brewing,” says Hadfield, 31, who now shares the production responsibilities with head brewer Tommie Grant. “My dad suggested I try working my way up, and so I did everything from working in the cellar to packaging, then brewing small batches and making casks. It’s a great creative outlet for me.” Today, Hadfield is working on her recipe for International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day on March 8. It’s a Pink Boots Society fundraising event, the profits from the beer made on this day going to scholarships for women in the industry. While women consumers often say they don’t like the highly hopped beers coming out of today’s North American craft breweries, at Spinnakers it is Kala Hadfield who’s the resident hop head. Her Northwest Ale is touted as the brewery’s finest beer, while her Hoptoria took Spinnakers into the world of highly hopped IPAs. “I’ve designed some fairly big, hoppy beers,” she admits, “but I’m moving away from hops a little bit now. I’m really into drier beers, like our DragonFly Rye Saison, and sour beers.” Spinnakers started the brewpub wave 30 years ago and remains on the cutting edge of the micro-brewing business. With the gastro-pub’s female chef Ali Ryan pairing Hadfield’s brews with fine food, there’s a woman’s touch to the Spinnakers’ food and drink experience.

Brewsters Before Brewers While Hadfield’s brewing job may seem novel in 2015, it was once commonplace. Long before there were industrial breweries and brewers’ guilds, women made beer, brewing for both family consumption and local commercial sales. In medieval Europe, it was the female “alewife” or brewster who brewed the everyday ale, the profession only becoming the domain of men after alcohol production became more regulated and brewing turned into a trade. Beer was a daily necessity, and it was a perishable product, produced in small batches. It wasn’t until the discovery of hops, which preserved the beer and extended its life, that beer could be produced in larger quantities and shipped, which is when men took over the work of brewing and selling beer. But women are taking back the brewing business, at least in part thanks to the recent explosion in craft brewing. The Pink Boots Society, a group helping women advance their brewing careers, now has more than 1,500 members, with chapters



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across the U.S. and around the world. The only Canadian chapter is in Vancouver, headed by Lundy Dale, who works at R&B Brewing. “It’s definitely changing all the time,” says Dale, a certified “cicerone,” a beer expert and educator. Dale has long been a member of CAMRA (the British-based Campaign for Real Ale), and though she was once the only female member, she says women now make up nearly half of CAMRA’s members in B.C. Women are drinking more beer, she says, thanks to the explosion of new craft breweries, which offer such a variety of flavour profiles and styles of beer to try. When surveyed, more men say beer is their favourite alcoholic beverage (53 percent compared with 20 percent of women), but in the U.S. at least, women account for 37 percent of craft beer consumption. Dale, who is also responsible for the consumer side of Pink Boots—Barley’s Angels—says the group offers women beer lovers lots of social and educational events, from cask nights at local pubs to beer and chocolate or cheese pairings. “Craft beer can be intimidating, but it’s all about education,” she says, “and women want to learn.”

Moon Under Water – co-owner Chelsea Potter

The Sisterhood Craft breweries are small by definition, so it’s no surprise they are family affairs. Many B.C. breweries have husband-and-wife teams at the helm, women making beer, pouring beer and selling it. Karen Skadsheim, founder of Townsite Brewing in Powell River, recently turned her operation over to brewer Cédric Dauchot and his wife, Chloe Smith, now the brewery manager, with Michelle Zutz, described on their website as “a wisecracking, determinedly country, mother of three” in charge of sales. In Saanichton, Category 12 Brewery is owned by Karen Kuzyk and her brewer husband, Michael. Their crisp Unsanctioned Saison, with a suitcase-hauling traveller in pumps on the label, definitely speaks to women on the move. And at Victoria’s Moon under Water, Chelsea Potter is jazzed about selling her husband Clay’s latest Farmhouse IPA, with Vancouver artist Bjauna Sorensen’s edgy self-portrait on the can. “We are releasing this new beer, Hip as Funk, with a powerful, strong, non-sexualized woman depicted on the label,” says Potter. Potter admits she fell into the beer business two years ago, thanks to her husband Clay’s brewing education and the opportunity to purchase the Moon brewery. And while the 26year-old former model says some consumers assume she’s been hired by the company to pour beer at tasting events and festivals, she’s learned to hold her own as the brewery’s marketing and sales manager. And as more women learn the brewing ropes, she says their influence will be felt. “Women are a huge emerging demographic among beer consumers, and though there are only a few women brewing, half of the owners are women,” Potter says. “We’re all friends,” she adds, noting several ongoing professional and consumer groups that offer education and tasting opportunities for women, including the Victoria-based Sisters of the Tap, organized by Spinnakers’ events coordinator Lindsay McQueen. Cont’d on the next page MARCH | APRIL 20145


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A Brewery of Her Own Brewer Claire (Connolly) Wilson hopes to soon be pouring beer to eager tasters at her own Dogwood Organic Brewery in Vancouver. Wilson studied to become a brewer in the UK, graduating with a degree in Brewing and Distilling from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. She’s had plenty of experience brewing at both small brewpubs and large industrial breweries since graduating and is devoted to making “really challenging, interesting beer.” Her new “brewer owned and operated brewery” fills a 12,000-square-foot industrial space along SE Marine Drive, where stainless steel tanks have been installed next to her new canning line. “I have three beers in the tank at the moment, and I hope to have the tasting room open within two weeks,” she said when we spoke in January. Dogwood Organic Brewery will initially produce four varieties of organic beer, including a hoppy 100-IBU IPA (9.5% ABV) and a Bumblebee Honey Ale (25 IBUs and 5%

ABV) that will be available on tap and at retail in cans, kegs, casks and growlers. “The craft customer base is growing by 30 to 40 percent a year,” she says. “We’re going fully organic, which will be our identifier in the market.” Women, she says, have better palates than men. “They taste more and are more sensitive to faults.” So it’s important to offer a well-made and well-balanced beer to attract female customers. Women also appreciate quality, she says, and the high standards required for organic production. “Everything is trackable and traceable, and we will purchase everything we can locally—90 percent of our malt from Armstrong and our organic hops from growers in Lillooet.” While some experts suggest women are more likely to drink light, sweet and fruity brews, Wilson says it’s all a matter of taste. “When making the transition to craft beer, you can’t go straight to a hoppy IPA,” she says, “but I can find anyone a beer they will like.” E


Category 12 Brewing

308 Catherine St, Victoria,

Unit C, 2200 Keating Cross Road, Saanichton,

R&B Brewing Co.

Moon Under Water

54-4 Avenue East, Vancouver,

350 Bay St, Victoria,

Townsite Brewing

Dogwood Organic Brewery

5824 Ash Ave, Powell River,

8284 Sherbrooke St, Vancouver,

Cory Pelan and his blood sausage (aka black pudding) at The Whole Beast

Category 12 co-owner and ‘operations guru’ Karen Kuzyk 26


EAT Magazine March_Apr 2015_Victoria_48_Layout 1 2/27/15 3:36 PM Page 27 JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2015


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The Exceptional Eats! 5th Edition The Best Restaurant, Shops & Food People in Victoria

BEST NEW RESTAURANT The Wheelies crew: Joel Harrison - owner on left, Kai Musseau – chef, middle, Jay Pincombe - owner on right.

Rebecca Wellman



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The polls are closed. The results are in. Who won the hearts and taste buds of Victoria? An extraordinary number of readers cast their votes (up again this year) for their favourites. In some categories the margin between winners was knife thin, while in others there were clear favourites. Congratulations to all the EE winners and to the amazing food and drinks industry in Victoria. Please, dear reader, support your favourite food and drink establishments and enjoy.



Best new addition to the food and drink scene It could be a new restaurant, shop, café or product. What's your pick? WHEELIES MOTORCYCLE CAFE (2620 Rock Bay Avenue, (250) 995-9359) RUNNER UP: Part and Parcel

2 Best Restaurant Of The Year: This restaurant always delivers-in service, selection, atmosphere, and execution. It's the best restaurant in the city-in every way, every time. BRASSERIE L’ECOLE (1715 Government St., (250) 475-6260) RUNNER UP: Stage

5 Restaurant Cooking Local: Best Restaurant Cooking Local: Local = Fresh + Delicious. Who does farm-to-table best and supports our local farms? What restaurant is it? 10 ACRES BISTRO + BAR + FARM (611 Courtney St, (250) 220-8008) RUNNERS UP: Relish, Part and Parcel

6 Outside the Core: Let's head out of the city. I know this amazing little place in the middle of nowhere... Name a great restaurant not in the city that's worth a special trip (keep it close to home, though, no planes). NOURISH GARDEN BISTRO 505 Quayle Rd, Saanich, (250) 590-6346 RUNNERS UP: Unsworth Vineyards Restaurant (Cowichan Valley), Point no Point (West Coast Rd)

3 Best Dish of the Year:

7 Pho the Love of It:

You really must try the _____ at _____! What dish was so fantastic that you will remember it forever - or at least until next year?

Best Pho. Where is it, short of jumping a plane to Vietnam?

KIMCHEE MEATBALLS at RELISH FOOD & COFFEE (920 Pandora Ave, (250) 590-8464) RUNNERS UP: Steak Frites at Brasserie L’ecole, Any tacos at Tacofino


I Didn't See That Coming: Where did you try a restaurant dish outside your usual, and it surprised you and was amazing? What was it and where did you eat it? BEEF TONGUE at PART and PARCEL (2656 Quadra Street, Victoria, 778) 406-0888) RUNNERS UP: Pork Ramen at Foo & any octopus at Bodega and Stage



PHO VY (Sadly, it’s reported they are now closed)) RUNNERs UP: Green Leaf, Pho-Ever

8 Sandwich me: A great sandwich is a beautiful thing. Who does it best... and which sandwich is your favourite? “THE PORK” (root beer-braised) at WHEELIES







(2620 Rock Bay Avenue, (250) 995-9359) RUNNERD UP: Porchetta at Roast, Porchetta at Meat and Bread

Cont’d on the next page

MOST UNIQUE DISH Part and Parcel: Beef Tongue Sandwich with housemade lamb bacon, grilled pickled red onion, horseradish mustard, scallion aioli, fresh greens, Frys ciabatta.



Rebecca Wellman












250.544.2079 MARCH | APRIL 2015


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9 "Bang on" Brunch:

14 Best Front-of-House Crew:

Who kills it? From a hash to a benny, from pancakes to griddles and coffee, who has your brunch covered? JAM CAFE

Your hard day sheds with a warm smile from the host or hostess. Your server seems to know what you want before you do. You matter in this restaurant, even if it is your first time. Attentive, authentic, warm and professional. Which Front of House Crew nails it?

(542 Herald St, Victoria, 778) 440-4489) RUNNERS UP: The Village, Mo:Lé

10 The Skinny Wallet of It:

BRASSERIE L’ECOLE (1715 Government St., (250) 475-6260) RUNNERS UP: Stage, Little Jumbo

Fat on flavor, slim on dollars, where do you go? HERNANDE’Z COCINA (735 Yates St,, (250) 884-5313) RUNNERS UP: Foo Asian Street Food, La Taquisa

15 The Pride of BC:

Is it a sticky cinnamon bun, a dark pain au chocolat, or a silken creme brulee? Where do you go to soothe the sweet cravings that call? Please name the sweet and the restaurant/bakery/cafe/shop. MACARONS AT FOL EPI (101-398 Harbour Rd., (250) 477-8882) RUNNERS UP: Pain au Chocolat at Fry’s Red Wheat Bread, Crunut at Crust Bakery

12 Delicious and Nutritious... Feed me!

Bin 4 – "Pre-Season Favourite" 63 Acres Premium BC Beef, Fraser Valley back bacon, house made roasted jalapeno guacamole, bruschetta, parmigiano, roasted garlic aioli, butter lettuce

Rebecca Wellman

11 Sweet on You:

13 The Burger is a Thing of Beauty Burgers are only getting better, where do you go to sink your teeth into the deep flesh of an exquisite or simply perfect burger? What makes it the best? Veggie burgers too.

A meal out can be both delicious - and healthy. Tell us where you go when you want to treat both your palate and your body? RE-BAR (50 Bastion Square, (250) 361-9223) RUNNERS UP: Be Love, Nourish

What is the best restaurant you have been to in British Columbia. It has the best food and service you have enjoyed. (It doesn't have to be fancy.) SOBO (311 Neill St, Tofino, (250) 725-2341) RUNNERS UP: Bishops (Vancouver), Hawksworth (Vancouver)

16 Best Place to Take a Kid: A pint for us, chocolate milk for them. 2014 saw new liquor laws that allows pubs to serve minors until 9pm. Which pub knows how to treat children the best? FERNWOOD INN

BIN 4 (911 Yates St #180, (250) 995-9359) RUNNERS UP: Pink Bicycle, Big Wheel

(1302 Gladstone Ave, (250) 412-2001) RUNNERS UP: The Marina Restaurant, Prima Strada

“Mike at the Oak Bay Butcher is passionate about what he does and has gained a lot of knowledge about meat and charcuterie and organic living in general. Plus he's funny.” —Exceptional Eats! voter comment

CREATE YOUR OWN CULINARY ADVENTURE REAL F FOOD OOD AD ADVENTURE VENTURE - MOROC MOROCCO CO Travel to Casablanca, Fes and Marrakech on a Moroccan food adventure. Experience adventurous eating in one of the most culturally diverse regions of the world. With a scoop of the seaside, a sprinkle of exotic medinas and a dollop of spice markets, this is a journey best served with the warm hospitality of the Moroccan people. In Includes: cludes: accommodation in hotels, gues thouse, and riad; 9 break fas t s, 3 lunches , and 3 dinner s; transpor tation by train, pr ivate vehicle, public bus and taxi; max . group size 12; guaranteed depar ture


$1,285 $1 ,285 p.p. p.p. 10 d days ays June 5, 2015 Land o nly. Other dates avva ailable— please inquirre


Book early and SA SAVE VE $150* p. p.p. p.

Start off in Rome and admire the cultural wonders of this city. Then board the train to Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance. From here, go on a tour of Siena, the medieval village of San Gimignano and the famous Chianti wine region. Stroll around charming Cinque Terre where paths, trains and boats connect the villages.

$ $2,275 2,275**** p.p.p.p. 9 days days Depar t s Toronto Aug. 27, 2015 Contact us fo for fl f li g ht s from Vi Victoria to T To oronto

In Includes: cludes: return air, 4 -s tar accommodations in Rome and Florence, and some tour s

Merit Travel Travel Victoria Victoria | 3617 Shelbourne St St.. | 250.477.0131 | 1.866.341.1777 | Vict | Merit CDN$ CDN$ pp, pp, d dbl bl o occ. cc . †T To o rreceive eceive 10% 10% o off ff IIntrepid ntrepid Tour, Tour, b book ook between bet ween Feb. Feb. 16–Apr. 16 –Apr. 16, 16, 2015 2015 ffor or travel: t r av e l : M Mar. ar. 1–Sept. 1–Sept. 30, 30, 2015. 2015. Contact Contac t us us for for full full tterms erms and and conditions. co n d i t i o n s . O Orr vvisit isit us us online, o nlin e, w w Europe2015. *B Book ook 60 60 d days ays or or more more p prior departure and per person. Round-trip o un d - t r ip a air ir iincluded ncluded from from Toronto. Toronto. Transfers not are Europe2015. rior tto od e pa r t ur e a nd ssave ave $$150 150 p er p er son. **R Transfer s between bet ween hotels hotels and and train train stations stations are are n ot iincluded. ncluded. • Excursions E xc u r s i o n s a re on on p pre-selected r e - s e le c te d d days. ays. • LLocal o c al h hotel otel ccity it y ttaxes be paid ON–4499356/4499372 BC–34799 C–3 4799 | C Canadian a n a d ia n o owned wne d axes tto ob ep aid llocally. ocally. O N– 4 499356/4 499372 | B



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A Visit to Parksville

Rebecca Wellman

Brasserie L’ecole servers: left to right Danielle, Garner and Sterling


17 Best Take-Out: It's the afternoon and you're thinking about dinner - but you don't feel like cooking tonight. What do you grab on the way home? Think restaurants, delis and food shops who's got the best to go? FOO ASIAN STREET FOOD (1302 Gladstone Ave, (250) 412-2001) RUNNERS UP: Baan Thai, Noodle Box

18 Oui, C'est La Meilleure: Best Baguette in town. Where and why? FOL EPI (101-398 Harbour Rd., (250) 477-8882) RUNNERS UP: Fry’s, Wild Fire Bakery

19 Favourite (Locally Owned) Store: Need a chef's knife, tablecloth, flowers, pot, candles or dining room chair? And you're not a fan of big-box shopping. Where do you go to buy it? COOK CULTURE (1317 Blanshard St, Victoria, (250) 590-8161) RUNNERS UP: Capital Iron, Penna & Co.

“Willis at 10 Acres, he gets me. And my other favourite sexy bartender, Zach. I think we were separated at birth.” —Exceptional Eats! voter comment


Best Specialty Food Store: You're having a dinner party and you're cooking something special (maybe you've never made it before!) Where do you go to get that "something" that makes the dish special? ROOT CELLAR (2620 Rock Bay Avenue, (250) 995-9359) RUNNERS UP: Charelli’s, Choux Choux 1715 Government St, Victoria, (250) 475-6260

21 Best Stall at a Market? Who is selling the most fantastic thing at a market - name the product and the purveyor? THE CHOCOLATE PROJECT (1701 Douglas St.) RUNNERS UP: Olive The Senses, Salt Spring Island Cheese


I'm Health Conscious: They say that you are what you eat. Where do you shop for food that is healthy or based on dietary restrictions? LIFESTYLE MARKETS (2950 Douglas St, (250) 384-3388)


Place to Buy Meat: Many shops, delis and restaurants are offering house made meats - charcuterie, cold cuts, salami and sausages for delivery and in-house. What is the best way to satisfy your carnivorous cravings?

Dear Mom, I’m planning our weekend up in Parksville and I can’t quite make up my mind where we’re going to stay. Will it be Tigh-Na-Mara or The Beach Club Resort? Both are wonderful and have everything we want for our weekend. Both are on the ocean. We can take those long walks along the Parksville beach we love so much. Rain or sun, it’s absolutely breathtaking. Remember to pack your rain gear just in case. I’ve already planned our dinners. The first night, we’re off to dinner at The Cedars at Tigh-Na-Mara where Chef Eric Edwards has created a local, regional and international menu. I’m definitely into the Crispy Leg of Duck Confit and you must try the salmon. It’s prepared on a Cedar plank with an almond crust. One of my favourites. The Beach Club has one of the most wonderful restaurants, Pacific Prime. I already know you’re going to order Chef Rick Davidson’s West Coast Bouillabaisse. For me, it’s hard to choose, but I think it might be the prime beef. I’ve booked our spa times too. We’ll start Friday afternoon with a visit to Tigh-Na-Mara where I’ve booked the Signature Pacific Body Balance and the Grotto Mineral Pool. We don’t have to leave the spa for our lunch. The Treetop Tapas & Grill provides endless tapas. We don’t want to fill up but we do want to savour our catch up time. Early Saturday morning, we can do our workout at the Fitness gym at The Beach Club. We need to work off the glorious food. Let’s take a walk along the beach again and then grab a Triple Berry Parfait at Pacific Prime. It’ll make us feel righteous and ready for our next luxurious afternoon of spa where I’ve booked a Customized Facial and the Ultimate Spa Manicure for both of us. We’ll get a Boxed Lunch from Pacific Prime so we can just relax and enjoy our time. You know Mom, I got so excited writing about both of these wonderful resorts, I’ve decided to book a night at each. Tigh-Na-Mara is beautifully situated on the ocean in a rustic setting. I’ve booked our favourite cabin. We’ll be able to spend our down-time sitting in front of the fireplace. At the Beach Club, every room every room has a great view so you’ll get your wish. All the rooms are luxurious and come complete with a gas fireplace and a kitchen just in case we get hungry. By the way, we still have Sunday brunch at Tigh-Na-Mara and Afternoon Tea at The Beach Club. Can’t wait! And, we haven’t mentioned the libations or desserts. More in my next letter. Love, Patricia

THE WHOLE BEAST ( 2032 Oak Bay Ave, (250) 590-7675) RUNNERS UP: Village Butcher, Choux Choux Charcuterie, Slater’s First Class Meats Cont’d on the next page

Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort 1155 Resort Drive, Parksville, BC (250) 248-2072,

The Beach Club Resort 181 Beachside Dr, Parksville, BC (250) 248-8999, MARCH | APRIL 2015


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31 Best Coffee Purveyor:

Best Local Food Product or Ingredient: You've got friends and family visiting, and you take pride in BC's food diversity. Okay, maybe you've been known to brag about the largess of this province. What local food, product or ingredient are you sure to introduce them to?

32 Sour, Neat, Dirty and New: This drink is a single piece of perfection and it is the best cocktail, bar none of the year. What was it and where did you drink it?


Rebecca Wellman

Oh, my Head. Need Water, Need __________. Best Hang-over Cure: What glorious food and venue cures that headache and dry mouth from too much too much last night? FLOYD’S DINER

VENETO TAPA LOUNGE (1450 Douglas St, (250) 383-7310) RUNNERS UP: Clives Classic Lounge, Bengal Lounge


You Say Champagne, I say Prosecco: You want an excellent selection, a range of prices, and a personable, knowledgeable staff. Best store to buy wine. What's your recommendation? CASCADIA LIQUOR (Multiple locations) RUNNERS UP: Everything Wine, Fort & Foul Bay

“Having the baristas at Discovery Coffee, James Bay, sing "Hot ginger" to me spontaneously one day when I ordered their ginger syrup, in hot water. It made me laugh on a bad day. It also happened to be the day friends from out of town were meeting me there and they also got a kick out of it. The baristas at that coffee shop are awesome!” —Exceptional Eats! voter comment


RUNNERS UP: Twitter: Don Genova, Heidi Fink, Shelora Sheldon Instagram: Discovery Coffee, Part and Parcel, Heist



Relaxing, hands wrapped around a stem or a tumbler, this hotel lounge or bar delivers what you need and love.

EAT (twitter, facebook, instagram)

RUNNERS UP: Caffee Fantastico, Habit Coffee

RUNNERS UP: Heist Coffee, Drumroaster Coffee


26 Lounge Lizard:

Mulitple Locations


Single Location

BC SPOT PRAWNS RUNNERS UP: Wild Salmon, Cold Comfort Ice Cream

(866 Yates St., (250) 381-5114) RUNNERS UP: Jam Café, Mo:Lé


Being Social: Who do you follow? Which restaurant, store, food writer or blogger would you follow to the ends of the earth? Tell us who it is and where you found it? Is it on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr or Pinterest?

Who makes the best coffee? No need for expanding on this. You love coffee and you know who you are.

“20th CENTURY” at VENETO TAPA LOUNGE (1450 Douglas St, (250) 383-7310) RUNNERS UP Tied: Bourbon Sour – Fiamo Old Fashioned – The Churchill Spurs and Saddles – Little Jumbo


Outstanding Local Beer of the Year: Impress your out-of-town host with a bottle of local brewski. Name the local brew that has everyone in a froth? HOYNE DARK MATTER (2740 Bridge St, (250) 590-5758) RUNNERS UP: Driftwood Fat Tug, Hoyne Pilsner

29 You Brought Wine: Impress your out-of-town host with a bottle from a local winery. What would you bring? UNSWORTH PINOT NOIR (2915 Cameron Taggart Rd, Cobble Hill, (250) 929-2292) RUNNERS UP: Zanatta Domasco, Averill Creek Pinot Noir

30 Local Beverage of the Year: This local beverage was, in a word, remarkable. Be it wine, beer, cider, spirits, soda, tea, coffee you name it. What really impressed you this year? Tell us what it was and which company made it. AMPERSAND GIN (4077 Lanchaster Rd., Duncan, (250) 737-1880) RUNNERS UP: Discovery Coffee’s Kenya, Phillips Root Beer



33 Gilded Gatherings: Which food or drink event, festival or seminar most excited you this year? CULINAIRE RUNNERS UP: Brewery & the Beast, Feast of Fields

34 Worst Trend of 2014: Chipotle in Everything? Small Plates? Fusion? Sauce Swooshes and Dots? The Avalanche of Kale? Help us weed out the most awful trend du jour! What is it? KALE IN EVERYTHING RUNNERS UP: Gluten-free diet (apologies to celiacs)), bacon (but we really we still want it), overpriced small plates, swooshes and dots on the plate.

35 Best New Trend of 2014: We know what you hated. Now tell us what you liked best about 2014 (food wise, of course)? RAMEN RUNNERS UP: Small plates, tacos, cauliflower, craft beer, cold brew coffee, fresh vegetable dishes, resurgence of sparkling wine

37 A Year of Living Sustainably: What business, association or non-profit best promotes a sustainable food system? ROOT CELLAR (1286 McKenzie Ave, (250) 477-9495) RUNNERS UP: Lifecycles, Big Wheel, Finest at Sea, Makaria Farm


People Skills: Did you have an amazing experience at a food shop, store or market this year that made you feel special? Maybe it made you want to tell your friends? Tell us your story and the store.

“Sarah-Amalia at Cascadia Uptown was not only incredibly knowledgeable and one of the most personable people I've ever encountered but impossibly nice and surprisingly tactful.” “Geoff at Slaters First Class Meats is the most attentive butcher around. He always remembers my preferences so that I hardly have to specify when I make an order.” “The Root Cellar - always fantastic and FAST customer service.” “All small restaurant owners should get my credit. They work asses off and completion is always chopping at the small window of population we have in Victoria. I dislike mean reviews on Yelp, Urbanspoon for places that have been open for only a month, give them a chance!” “I love my visits to Charelli's just to see the cheese shop girls. I always feel warm, happy and at ease in the hustle and bustle of their small but happy shop. They are wonderful, talented, and wise. I can't not go back!” “Yasir at The Fig Delicatessen always provides the best service in Victoria!” “As simple as this sounds, I plan my weekly grocery shop around the work shifts of a particular gal at Thrifty Foods, Hillside Mall. Shelagh is a gal friday and has plenty of hats, my favourite is how she packs my groceries. Perfection in a bag.” “Daniel at Patisserie Daniel always make me feel special: especially when service is slow or he doesn't have what I was looking for, he always slips in some treat, it is unasked for, and not expected, and much appreciated.” “Cook Culture, made me feel really listened to, accommodated and special. Having difficulty finding "great" kitchen knives the staff recommended the ceramic knife and it has proven to be my favorite knife, reliable, light weight, and always sharp!” “Ottavio - the deli folks are amazing. They love cheese, I love cheese, we love cheese together!”

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39 The Exceptional Eats! Hall of Fame & 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award: Give recognition to the person who has spent their lifetime committed to exemplary, sincere, and passionate culinary excellence.

FOOD PERSON 0F THE YEAR CORY PELAN This year's Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Cory Pelan, has been an outspoken champion of the sustainable food movement for two decades. Since moving to Vancouver Island from the mainland (where he began his career as a sous chef at Yaletown Brewing Company in 1996; first cook at Rex Rotisserie & Grill in 1996; and executive sous chef at Big River Brewing in 2002), Cory has been a fixture on the local food scene. Pelan has served as past president and treasurer (and is a current board member) of Island Chefs Collaborative and as a

board member of Slow Food Vancouver Island. He has also been a stewardship team member representing Vancouver Island for Farm Folk City Folk. Cory's career on Vancouver Island began as executive chef at Bravo Restaurant in 2002, a stint as executive sous chef at Brentwood Bay Lodge in 2004, followed by executive chef positions at Penny Farthing Pub, Vintage Wine Bar & Grill, Arbutus Ridge Golf and Country Club, and Ristorante La Piola before opening his own artisan salumeria, The Whole Beast, in 2011. Sharing a space with the Village Butcher on Oak Bay Avenue, The Whole Beast features artisan-cured, ethically produced meat using whole, locally raised animals. Cory's passion for the traditional craft of curing meat, his knowledge of how the animals were raised and dispatched, and his love for his products is obvious when we spoke recently, as he was rearranging dozens of products in his shop's display case. "We want to offer the best quality ingredients from responsible, ethical farmers," Pelan explained as he turned to slice my lunchmeat order. "That's our mandate—to serve handmade, nose-to-tail products sold by the people who make it.

We're chefs, and we're in an enviable position at The Whole Beast. Everything we like, we make from our own recipes." "Another part of our mandate is to inform and educate our customers," Cory continued, "There's a lack of education in the market place, as well as a lack of quality meat products. We want to gain our customers' trust, and our size helps us here. We're three highly skilled labourers versus factories of unskilled labourers serving the massive, commercial food industry. Sincerity, ethics, respect for tradition ... there's a big market for this." The Whole Beast features a rotating offering of 50 products including seven varieties of handmade salami, chorizo, bacon, prosciutto, pepperoni, and pates, as well as nose-to-tail, in-house products like blood sausage, liverwurst, headcheese, cotechino, corned lamb, and pork tongue. There is also a line of preserves on the small shop's shelves including sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, and mustard. “We may eventually expand into wholesale or a second retail outlet," Pelan continued with a sigh. “But I don't want to borrow money. I guess we'll eventually outgrow our space in back, our kitchen, but I don't want to expand until I can do it on my own."

The Prize Winners

Here are the prize draw winners for the 5th Exceptional Eats! Awards. Thanks to everyone who participated and voted. We will be in touch with the lucky winners on how to redeem your prize. 10 Acres Bistro + Bar + Farm $100 Gift Certificate Sandra Gallup Camilles Restaurant Two $50 Gift Certificates Mike Barber Canoe Brewpub A Canoe branded hoodie Janna Zahorodniuk

Cascadia Liquor Stores A private wine tasting for four, led by a certified Cascadia Liquor Store sommelier Alicia Bertrand Crooked Goose Bistro $50 Gift Certificate Greg Damant Delta Ocean Pointe Hotel VIP Patio Party for 6 people consisting of dinner for 6 with cocktails/craft beer Paige Erickson-McGee Fernwood Inn $60 Gift Certificate Jasmine Wong

Spinnakers 3-course Dinner for Two w/ Beer Pairings & One Night Stay w/ Breakfast for Two Niamh Murphy Galloping Goose Grille $164 Gift Certificate J. Malnarick Hester Creek Estate Winery Magnum of Cabernet Franc with box Vicki Neilson Heron Rock Bistro $50 Gift Certificate Taryn Terjesen Hillside Liquor Store Two $50 Gift Certificates Adrienne Forest

Hudson on First $100 Gift Certificate Michael Rensing Oughtred Coffee & Tea $100 Gift Certificate Caroline Hudson Pescatores/Oyster Bar $100 Gift Certificate Janell Lundgren Rocky Road Winery Gift Certificate worth $100 Robyn Kyle Silk Road Tea & Chocolate Pairing Gift Certificate worth $300 Kailey MacLeod $150 Gift Certificate Jill Yewell Unsworth Vineyards & Restaurant Lunch, Wine tasting & Tour for Four $100 value Jeff Jeglum Victoria Public Market $50 in Market Bucks Wendy Saville The Whole Beast One year of meat valued at $120.00. Cierra Catarino

LEAVE ROOM FOR THE WICK Meals are like the punctuation marks of a great trip. They give shape to the narrative of your adventure. We encourage you to explore Tofino and then come visit us at the Wickaninnish Inn to enjoy fresh baked pastries in the morning, a lovingly prepared picnic lunch, or a dinner at The Pointe Restaurant that will put an exclamation point on your time here. @TasteWickInnBC

The Pointe Restaurant 250.725.3106

tel 1.800.333.4604 MARCH | APRIL 2015


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EAT Magazine March_Apr 2015_Victoria_48_Layout 1 2/27/15 3:37 PM Page 35

No Forks Allowed! Put the prongs down, this is finger food; food that’s lovingly scooped up and eaten with a Hail Mary in hopes that all the saucy bits don’t fall down your front. And if they do, that’s OK too. That’s why napkins were invented.

Spicy Prawn Lettuce Cups Make with your favourite type of prawn—heavenly spot prawns, when in season, or sweet juicy sidestripes. Serves 6 (with lots of extra sauce!) Spicy Sauce


1 cup peanut butter

2 lb peeled and deveined

1 cup hot water

raw prawns

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbsp sriracha sauce

Sea salt, to taste

2 Tbsp Thai red curry paste

Vegetable oil

2 Tbsp coconut palm sugar

2 tsp fish sauce

2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 yellow peppers, thinly sliced ½ red onion, diced 1/3 cup chopped peanuts 1/3 cup chopped cilantro Iceberg or Bibb lettuce leaves Lime wedges

To make the sauce: Whirl peanut butter in a blender with hot water, garlic, sriracha, curry paste, sugar and vinegar until well mixed. Taste and add more sriracha, if desired. Toss prawns with garlic and sea salt. Coat the bottom of a frying pan with oil and set over medium-high heat. When hot, add prawns. Stir-fry until cooked, 3 to 5 minutes. Add fish sauce and toss to coat, then remove from heat. Fill lettuce leaves with prawn mixture, sliced peppers and onion. Sprinkle with peanuts and cilantro. Top with dollops of sauce and a squeeze of fresh lime, then wrap and eat!

Tip: To make these more of a meal, add cooked rice or crispy noodles MARCH | APRIL 2015


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Churros are the stylishly hip cousin to the downmarket doughnut. Normally eaten for breakfast in other parts of the world (Spain, France, the Philippines, Portugal, Mexico to name a few), I love these uber-crispy, sugary bites anytime. Rather than shaped into a circle, churros are thin wands of dough, Unfurled from the binding circle of the doughnut, these thin squiggly wands are traditionally paired with hot chocolate or cafÊ con leche. Yet they’re also irresistible with tart, gingery, rhubarb compote and salted chocolate sauce. Just saying.

Dress up your favourite homemade or store-bought chocolate sauce with pinches of flaky sea salt.



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Chai Churros These taste best when just made: hot, sugary and crunchy. Bring on the dunking sauces. Serves 6. 1 cup all-purpose flour

¼ tsp sea salt

2 tsp chai spice*

3 large eggs, beaten

1 cup water

Vegetable oil, for frying

½ cup unsalted butter

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

In a bowl, stir flour with chai spice. In a saucepan set over high heat, stir water with butter, sugar and salt until melted and evenly mixed. Bring to a boil, then stir in flour. Reduce heat to low. Using a wooden spoon, stir vigorously until mixture forms into a ball. Remove from heat. Continue to stir, gradually beating in eggs until evenly mixed. In small bowl, stir sugar with cinnamon. Set aside. Fill a large, heavy-bottomed, deep saucepan one-third full with oil and set over medium-high heat. Oil is hot enough for frying when it reaches 375°F. Or drop in a small knob of dough. If it sizzles and browns, oil is ready. Spoon churros dough into a piping bag fitted with a large tip. Pipe long strips of dough into hot oil. (Tip: Use a knife to slice strips.) Don’t crowd the pan! Fry until deep golden, about 2 minutes per side. (Reduce heat to medium, as needed, to maintain even temperature of oil and prevent burning.) Using tongs, carefully remove churros to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil for 10 seconds, then toss in spiced sugar. Serve warm with rhubarb compote and your favourite chocolate sauce dressed up with pinches of flaky sea salt.

*Make your own chai spice by blending together 1 Tbsp ground ginger, 2 tsp ground cinnamon and 1 tsp each ground cardamom, allspice and cloves.

Vodka-Soaked Rhubarb Compote This isn’t a typical sauce for churros but does add tangy sweet-and-sour flair. Makes about 4 cups. 1¼ cups coconut palm sugar

5 cups chopped fresh rhubarb*

½ cup each vodka and water

1 cup chopped strawberries

5 slices fresh ginger Place sugar in a saucepan and pour in vodka and water. Add ginger and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Stir in rhubarb. Adjust heat so mixture simmers. Stir often until rhubarb is really soft and starts to fall apart, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in strawberries. Using a potato masher, coarsely mash. Cool, then discard ginger slices.

*Note: If using frozen rhubarb, reduce liquid by half. If mixture is too watery, strain excess liquid before mashing.



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empranillo {tem-pran-NEE-yo} is as prolific as the bulls, and as ancient as winemaking in Spain – dating back to the Phoenicians. The name is the diminutive of the Spanish temprano, early, and refers to the grape’s early ripening and early harvest. This short growing season is what allows it to survive and thrive in the harsh continental climatic conditions across central and northern Spain and throughout Portugal. Today there are dozens of names for this deep coloured grape, including Aragonês, Cencibel, Tinta Fina, Tinta Roriz, Tinto de Toro and Ull de Llebre. Clone and location matters, though the hallmark tobacco leaves, dark black fruit, leather and plums are expressed across its homeland of Spain, as well as in Portugal, Argentina, Washington, California and via a splash here in BC. Lower in tannins and potent in flavour, tempranillo is oft blended with garnacha, mazuelo and graciano, as in the classic blend of Rioja.



Marqués de Murrieta Rioja Reserva Finca Ygay 2008 Rioja, Spain $30 +207027 Tempranillo, garnacha, mazuelo and graciano yields gentle notes of dried cherry, subtle wild raspberry and cranberry. The finessed palate carries leather, fragrant red flowers and sun warmed pottery, lifted with delicate acidity. Drinking lovely now with tender young pork or truffles, but will continue to gain complexity ov er the next five plus years. 90 points.

Artadi Tempranillo Vineyard Selection 2012 Rioja, Spain *$27 +775585 Supple leather and fragrant cherry aromas from this high altitude, medium bodied red. The round palate carries youthful cherry and strawberry, chewy tannins and raspberry compote. Best with pork chop or lamb kababs. 88 points.


Nexus One 2012 Ribera Del Duero, Spain $25 +362376 Scented wild blackberry, tobacco, pencil and whiffs of dark florals open this fine grained and structured red. Textured black fruit is lifted with cherry juiciness through to the lingering tobacco-clad finish. Pair with young lamb dishes. 90 points.

Quinta do Crasto Douro Vinho Tinto 2013 Douro Valley, Portugal $20 +499764 Twenty+ year old tinta roriz, tinta barroca, touriga franca and touriga naçional shows pure black plum, black cherry and youthful violets. The structured, peppery, stony and precise palate draws textured tannins and grippy tannins to a lingering bitter black cherry and candied violets finish. Pour with lamb. 89 points.




Familia Zuccardi Stag’s Hollow Q Tempranillo 2010 Tempranillo 2012 Santa Rosa, Mendoza, Argentina Okanagan Valley, BC $22 +165662 *$30 +617571 Dense, spicy, ripe black and cola fruit Camp smoke, branch, cinnamon bark, aromas leap out of the glass. The strawberry, earthy tobacco aromas. The compact palate surprises with freshness crunchy palate throws dark smoked - bright, nimble black and blue fruit, berries, toasted wood and prune. finely rasped pepper and chocolate Tannins moderate, but grippy and cedar tannins. A hint of dark cocoa and dried hewn, finishing with bitter coffee. Pair figs close out the lingering finish. this rustic red with grilled lamb/pork Supple mole pork tenderloin would be kabobs. 87 points. a killer pair. 89 points. *Asterisks denote wines that are only available at the winery or select private liquor stores.



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g A BEER AND A BITE By Colin Hynes

Colin Hynes


The Beer: Tofino Brewing Co. - Blonde Ale (Tofino BC) Tofino brewing is a pretty laid-back brewery (they have a skateboard ramp in their warehouse), but that same laid-back attitude isn’t used towards their products. Their perfectly crafted blonde ale has some great floral notes, and stays on the lighter side of malt [just look at that fantastic colour!]. Great for kicking back in your pad, or (especially if you're in Tofino) on the beach. ABV: 5.5%, 650ml bottle,

The Bite: Local Fish and Chips Here's hoping by the time this hits the stands, it will be starting to look, and feel, like spring. Spring means one thing for many people; It’s the segue season to the summertime—not too early to bust out the barbeque, and probably nice enough to have a few people over and eat in the backyard. Go out and grab some local fish and chips, and kick back with some Blonde Ale; all you have to do is roll up the newsprint after you eat, making this the easiest party clean-up ever.

The Conclusion: The smooth drinking Blonde Ale from Tofino makes enjoying your fish and chips that much better. The chips get potato-y-er, the fish gets richer, the batter tastes crisper and, hopefully, this pairing makes that summertime feeling come just that much quicker.



55% OFF


BECOME A CASE CLUB MEMBER! Complimentary 1 hour parking with purchases of $10 or more.

CATEGORY 12 BREWING VICTORIA’S ELEVENTH BREWERY OPENED a week before Christmas. Category 12 Brewing is owned and operated by Michael and Karen Kuzyk. Michael has a PhD in microbiology and biochemistry from the University of Victoria and has worked in life sciences research for the past 20 years. He has been an avid home brewer since graduate school and says, “I started home brewing during grad studies, first as a necessity, but it quickly became a passion of mine. I wanted to turn my passion into my full-time occupation so I could really explore the creativity of industrial fermentation and, most importantly, share it with others!” Michael and Karen decided to wait until their family had grown up so they could really concentrate on the brewery. Michael takes care of brewing, and Karen is, as she puts it, “the operations Ninja,” doing just about everything else in the brewery. Their first beers were a saison and an IDA. Unsanctioned Saison is a Belgian-inspired saison, brewed with a Trappist yeast. This sets it apart from most of the other B.C. saisons available, being quite a strongly flavoured beer with plenty of Zythos hops (6.9 ABV and 27 IBUs). The latest release in January was Critical Point Pale Ale. This is a very tasty Northwest pale ale, brewed with pale and crystal malts and Cascade and Falconers Flight hops (5.4 ABV and 49 IBUs). —John Rowling

644 BROUGHTON STREET, VICTORIA, BC V8W 1C9 | 250.384.9994 Artisan Wine Shop AWS |


2200 Keating Cross Rd., Saanichton, open Tues-Sat, noon-6 p.m., MARCH | APRIL 2015


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By Michelle Bouffard and Michaela Morris

Italy Rising

We all have our Italian faves, but Italy is rich in indigenous grape varieties worth a sip. ITALY IS FLYING HIGH WITH THE SUCCESS of Pinot Grigio and Prosecco. While it’s easy to be seduced by these hot exports, don’t overlook the hundreds (literally) of dare-we-say more interesting wines. We’re even suggesting that you venture beyond popular favourites like Chianti, Brunello and Amarone. Italy is simply teaming with countless unique indigenous varieties. Most of these grapes rarely travel outside their country of origin and are often confined to one particular region. Rather than let this off-the-beaten-track character deter you, buckle up for a lifetime of discovery. We suggest getting to know one grape at a time. The enchantingly named region of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia is nestled up in the northeast of Italy by the Slovenian border. This well-ventilated corner has become renowned for clean, crisp whites. It boasts a long list of grapes, including Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, but Friuli has embraced the local Friulano grape as its flagship white. Subtly scented, it offers green herbs and leaves with citrus and stones as well as fleshy orchard fruit. The best sport a noticeable richness and minerality. The palate-cleansing nature of Friulano inspires rib-sticking mountain food. The locals would drink it with San Daniele prosciutto or frico (think flavourful alpine cheese melted with slices of potato). Raclette would be just as enjoyable.

“Buckle up for a lifetime of discovery. We suggest getting to know one grape at a time.” Originally of Spanish origin, the sun-loving Vermentino grape crops up in some of northwest Italy’s most beautiful seaside areas. Its richest, most full-bodied expression is found in Sardegna, where it slakes the thirst of beachgoers. On the coastal hillsides of Liguria, where the famous fishing villages of Cinque Terre are found, Vermentino offers a slightly more delicate, elegant aperitivo. Examples from the shores of Tuscany are similar. Lively and lemony with wild herbs and a refreshing salty character, Vermentino begs for grilled white fish. It can also stand up to an assertive pesto sauce. Both Argiolas from Sardegna and Cantina Lunae from Liguria make for impressive introductions. The southwestern region of Campania has everything going for it. Besides the fascinating city of Naples, the drop-dead gorgeous Amalfi coast, the island of Capri and Roman ruins, it was famous for its wines in ancient times. Today they are living up to their former glory. For whites, the triple threat of Fiano, Greco and Falanghina are all worth discovering. However, there’s something about the overt, extroverted quality of Falanghina that is simply irresistible. Expect pine forest, orange and juicy stone fruit. A classic pairing would be Caprese salad; that’s tomatoes, Buffalo mozzarella and lots of fresh basil. You’ll have to wait for summer for this tasty combo. In the meantime, a pizza margherita would do quite nicely. Beyond its lovely whites, Campania’s real claim to fame is the dark-skinned Aglianico grape. Here it reaches its apogee in the DOCG zone of Taurasi. This inland area furnishes Aglianico with exactly what it needs. Besides volcanic soil, for which Aglianico has a great affinity, the altitude provides a long, slow, growing season so this tough grape can reach full maturity. Equally ideal conditions are found in the neighbouring region of Basilicata, particularly in the Aglianico del Vulture zone. Though it isn’t actually related, Aglianico could be Nebbiolo’s dark southern cousin. High in acid, tannin and alcohol, it has similar aging potential and often needs time before being remotely friendly. The fruit expression is darker and even more brooding than Nebbiolo, but the tarry, tobacco, black tea and earthy notes are equally haunting. Arguably Italy’s third noble grape (after Nebbiolo and Sangiovese), it too is best enjoyed with food. Try with lamb or wild boar. The king of Piedmont may be Nebbiolo (think Barolo and Barbaresco), but for all of



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its repute there is actually very little of it grown. Other grapes like Barbera, Dolcetto, Cortese and Arneis have an important place in the vineyard so it is impossible to get bored. Our current obsession is Pelaverga, which was on the verge of extinction before being revived in the 1970s. It certainly has a distinct character. A pale colour and light body are unfashionable traits for a red, but we aren’t slaves to trends. We love the red cherry and extreme savouriness that herbal notes like bay leaf and sage impart. Pair with Cornish hen served with mushrooms cooked in sage. Burlotto makes one of the most highly regarded Pelavergas and a smattering has just made it into B.C. You are most likely to find it at restaurants like Uva and l’Abattoir in Vancouver. The affordable and delightful Terre del Barolo is another newcomer. Sicily is a hotbed of interesting and surprising grapes. Frappato has to be its most charming and could be Italy’s answer to Beaujolais. Bursting with bright berries and flowers, it is framed by very soft supple tannin. And while it is very easy to drink on its own, Frappato is also extremely food friendly. The Sicilian diet is fish rich and this is a red that can get along well with sea-going creatures such as tuna and salmon. Also from Sicily, Nerello Mascallese thrives on the slopes of Mount Etna. We’ve described this grape as Pinot Noir’s rustic and hot-blooded relative. Usually light in colour and medium-bodied, Nerello Mascalese beguiles with beautiful aromas of spice and flowers against a backdrop of warming alcohol. Hello baked chicken with olives and capers. Puglia forms the heel of Italy’s boot. The baking heat and lack of rainfall requires drought- and heat-resistant grapes, like Negroamaro. Some people translate the name as “the black bitter” and say this speaks to the grape’s character. Robust and ripe, it will deliver when you are craving a full-bodied red. It is particularly delicious with spicy sausages and slowly braised meat. It’s impossible to limit the vast and rich diversity of Italy’s wine world into a few paragraphs. This is why we never tire of sipping from this country. Even us wine geeks continue learning and finding new gems each time we peruse the Italian section at our local wine shop or step foot on Italy’s soil. E

Whites 2013 Tenuta di Angoris, ‘Villa Locatelli’ Friulano, Friuli Isonzo DOC $20-23 (SKU # 466433) Delicate aromas of stone, grass and acacia flowers followed by lemon balm on the palate. Pleasant texture and minerally with appealing bitter almond notes. Cleansing between bites of raclette. 2012 Terradora, Falanghina, IGT Campania $22-25 (SKU #144790) Juicy with charming notes of nectarines and white peaches. Very quaffable and easy to drink. The perfect aperitivo or a delight with simply cooked white fish. 2013 Cantine Lunae, Vermentino, Colli di Luni DOC $25-28 (SKU #882209) So fragrant and inviting! Candied pink grapefuit peel with peach and herbal aromas. Creamy texture and fantastic concentration yet still refreshing. Seafood ceviche is a great match.

Reds 2013 Terre del Barolo, Verduno Pelaverga DOC $20-23* An intriguing mix of bay leaf, cranberries and rose petal. Very light with barely there tannins. Try with Cornish hen accompanied by mushroom cooked in sage. 2011 Apollonio Copertino DOC $22-25 (SKU #482422) Rich, robust and simply bursting with notes of prune, red licorice, fig and coffee. Enjoy with your favourite meat stew. 2012 Vigneti Zabù, ‘Il Passo’ Nerello Mascalese Nero d’Avola, Sicily IGT, $23-26 (SKU #699835) Nerello Mascalese teams up with yet another of our favorite Sicilian grapes, Nero d’Avola. A savoury combination of earth and fruity notes with blackberries, mushroom and forest floor. Cozy up and sip with beef ragu or grilled sausages. 2011 Valle dell’Acate, ‘Il Frappato’ Vittoria Frappato DOC $25-28 (SKU # 23390) Extremely fragrant and floral with succulent raspberry, wild strawberry, a bit of orange zest and very gentle tannin. Serve with a slight chill. Red with fish! 2008 Elena Fucci, 'Titolo' Aglianico del Vulture DOCG $65-72 (SKU #392902) Black salted licorice, smoke and ash with intense blackberry, black cherry and pronounced mineral notes. Firm but fine tannin. Rack of lamb is in order. *Asterisks denote wines that are only available at the winery or select private liquor stores.

Although late and over budget, check our fresh new look at MARCH | APRIL 2015


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—By Treve Ring

Inspiration : Sydney, Australia T H I S

M O N T H ’ S


Larry Arnold (LA) Product Director, Metro Liquor Group Larry Arnold is the Product Director for the Metro Liquor Group and a contributing writer to EAT magazine. Larry has been a fixture in the Victoria wine scene for 30 years and was formerly a Product Consultant at the BCLDB in Victoria where he sat on the LDB’s listing panel and also participated on the BC Wine Institute’s VQA Gold Standard panel. During this time he co-founded the Victoria Wine Society and co-chaired the British Columbia-Sonoma Wine Festival and the Pacific Northwest Wine Festival in Victoria. He has judged at the All Canadian Wine Awards, and is a contributing writer to the book, Island Wineries of British Columbia. Peter Van de Reep (PVR) Bar Manager, Upstairs at Campagnolo, Vancouver Van de Reep moved to Vancouver to pursue an education in geology but quickly was won over by the hospitality industry following graduation. After a nearly decade stint as a barista at some of Western Canada’s top cafes, Van de Reep made the jump into the restaurant world, joining the team at Campagnolo ROMA in 2012 to work behind the bar. In early 2014, he opened Upstairs at Campagnolo where he tends the bar with a classic approach to spirits, cocktails and wine.

Charcoal Roast Duck, Bone Marrow, Leeks & Potato (via Rockpool)

LA. Roast duck and pinot noir is a classic pairing, so why screw with tradition. In this dish the dark meat of the roast duck is infused with a subtle whiff of charcoal smoke, juicy with plenty of fat and a slight gaminess. The supporting cast of bone marrow, leek and potato add richness and an earthy sweetness. Ideally the pinot would be light to medium bodied with a sweet, earthy fecundity and more than a passing nod to cherry and plum flavours. It would have good acidity and a soft blush of ripe tannins with a whiff of oak to compliment the smoky, gamey flavours of the bird and cut through the fat and richness. PVR. The slight smoke you get from charcoal roasting and the richness from both the bone marrow and the leeks are driving me to pull a Barolo from the cellar. The nebbiolo grape has a lovely balance of tannin, acid and smoke that will match the duck beautifully yet still stand up to the texture and tongue coating marrow. My preference would lie with a Barolo that is just at the start of its prime drinking window with 8 to 10 years of age from a good producer. At this age the tannins shouldn’t be too aggressive which is key with poultry like duck.

Tea Smoked Quail Breast with Parsnip & Calamari

(via Tetsuya) LA. I love this dish! “East meets West,” a play on “Surf and Turf,” very simple ingredients requiring extraordinary precision in the kitchen to pull off. The tea smoked quail breast is very delicate, the skin lightly seared on top, medium-rare and very pink with a subtle hint of smokiness. The squid, razor thin, raw and cold with a lovely briny sweetness and silky texture builds on the earthy, sweet root vegetable flavour of the parsnip. A high wire act balancing a multitude of flavours, textures and temperatures. My choice for this beautiful dish is a wine as pleasing to the eye as it is to the palate: a Brut Rosé from Champagne, salmon pink with copper highlights and a fine persistent effervescence. This classic medium-bodied blend will have just enough ripe fruit, spice and toast flavours to envelope and compliment the subtle gamey flavours and smoke of the quail and bright acidity to play off the natural sweetness and textures of the parsnip and the squid.

PVR. Initially I was thinking of going with one of my favourite red varieties, the overlooked and underestimated gamay, but the calamari threw me a little. I feel the delicate balance between the squid and the quail would be lost when paired with even a delicate light red. Hence, I’m going with my gut and saying that riesling is the way to go with this dish. My preference would lie with a well made Mosel Kabinett riesling for that delicate balance of residual sugar and acid, but a Trocken style from the Nahe or some of the top Wachau rieslings from Austria would be stellar with this dish as well.



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—By Larry Arnold

Borthwick Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2014 New Zealand $24.00-25.00 Ouch! This unbelievably juicy Sauvignon Blanc from the heart of the Wairarapa, tucked away on the southern tip of New Zealand’s north island, is a must try. Gooseberry, guava, pineapple, passion fruit, yes, it is all here. A veritable potpourri of tropical fruit aromas and flavours. Fresh, clean and balanced with a cut of mouthwatering acidity. Highly recommended! Teddy Hall Chenin Blanc 2011 South Africa $15.00-17.00 Chenin Blanc from Stellenbosch can be absolutely delicious and this fine white does not disappoint. Crisp and clean with lively tropical fruit flavours and a rich core of zingy acidity. Chateau Teyssier Pezat Blanc Bordeaux Supérieur 2013 France $25.00-27.00 Château Teyssier is a “garagiste” located in the heart of the Saint Emilion Appellation. Rated as a Saint Emilion Grand Cru, the chateau has a reputation for producing high quality reds at prices to match, but in 2005, utilizing fruit sourced just outside the appellation, Teyssier started producing generic Bordeaux under the Pezat label. The quality is superb and so are the prices! The white is a blend of barrel fermented Sauvignon Blanc (85%) and Semillon (15%). Rich and creamy, with fig, citrus and melon flavours, balanced with nicely integrated oak and refreshing acidity! Top-notch! Tyrrell’s Lost Block Hunter Valley Semillon 2012 Australia $18.00-21.00 Fresh and inviting with tropical fruit, citrus and hay aromas! Light to medium-bodied with concentrated citrus and herb flavours, juicy acidity and a long clean finish. Poggio Al Tufo Vermentino 2011 Italy $19.00-21.00 The Tommasi family is better know for their bevy of refined whites and reds from the Veneto but if this is any indication of things to come we have much to look forward to. Light and fresh with a nose of spring flowers. Delicious with ripe apple and mineral nuances on the palate, soft acidity and a lovely fresh finish. Bodegas Muriel Reserva Rioja 2008 Spain $28.00-30.00 Bodegas Muriel is absolutely delicious. A classic reserva, aged for 24 months in a mix of French and American oak barrels, then aged for an additional two years before being released. Ruby red with menthol, ripe berry, tobacco and vanilla on the nose! The palate is an explosion of savoury fruit flavours with subtle anise and spice notes and great complexity. Fresh and balanced with good acidity, soft tannins and a long persistent finish! Suberb! Franklin Tate Estate Alexander’s Vineyard Cab Sauvignon 2012 Australia $26.00-28.00 When it comes to Aussie Cabernet, the Margaret River region takes center stage. Very rich and concentrated with ripe cassis, menthol, cinnamon and bay leaf aromas. Fullbodied with ripe fruit flavours and well-rounded tannins, culminating in a lovely soft finish that just keeps going. Thorn-Clarke Shotfire Quartage 2011 Australia $27.00-29.00 Shotfire Quartage is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (52%), Cabernet Franc (20%), Malbec (13%) and Petit Verdot (15%) aged in French oak for 12 months. Inky black with lifted aromas of cassis, violets and menthol. Medium to full-bodied, with dense layers of juicy black fruit and spice flavours with a gentle blush of fine, silky tannins and a long supple finish! Delicious. Bleasedale Mulberry Tree Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Australia $18.00-20.00 Aged twelve months in previously used French oak, Bleasedale Cabernet Sauvignon is redolent with cassis, mint, violets and vanilla aromas. Plush and silky with spicy, fruit flavours and a supple tannic structure. Another great buy from Australia. McWatters Collection Meritage 2011 Okanagan Valley $25.00-27.00 Very stylish with sweet blackberry, cassis and spice notes on the nose. This classic blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (40%), Merlot (31%) and Cabernet Franc (29%) really comes through on the palate with ripe berry, spice and pepper flavours, soft tannins E and nicely integrated oak. Very elegant with a great deal of finesse. E



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MARCH MARCH 2015 2015 THREE THREE COURSE COURSE MEALS MEALS $35 $35 $45 $45 & $55 $55

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IInn CCoast oast V Victoria ictoria H Harbourside arbourside H Hotel otel & M Marina arina | | 2250.480.1999 50.480.1999 | tt/the_bluecrab /the_bluecrab | f/bluecrabseafoodhouse f/bluecrabseafoodhouse

ON THIS FARM THERE ARE SOME WINE CHICKS... It's spring! Come in and pick your new favourite wine!

VQA Wine Shop at

MATTICK’S FARM Open 7 days a week

5325 Cordova Bay Rd. 250-658-3116

Established 1998

Our service can best be described as “Knowledgeable, yet not pretentious……approachable, with a hint of sass!” MARCH | APRIL 2015


EAT Magazine March_Apr 2015_Victoria_48_Layout 1 2/27/15 3:37 PM Page 44

THE LOCAL LIST EAT’s where to find it guide

EAT Magazine is available thanks to the support of our advertisers. Please support them whenever you can





Frozen Meals with a Local Emphasis - The Apple Box' Seasonal Menu or Food Box consists of Frozen Dinners, Appetizers & Desserts made with Local hormone free pasture raised meats, local produce & organic ingredients. Available In Store 1725 Cook St 250-590-6257

A fun, relaxed and welcoming place to hang out, enjoy the waterfront view and soak in the North Salt Spring Island vibe. Oh yeah, and have a pretty darn good coffee as well. 325 Fernwood Rd. Salt Spring Island, BC, V8K 1C3 250-931-2233,


DUNCAN HUDSON’S ON FIRST Award winning dining in a beautifully restored heritage home. Local ingredients, classic techniques and made from scratch cooking are a just few reasons to visit us in Duncan more often. Celebrate Bubbles & Brunch, Lunch and Dinner. 163 First St. Duncan 250-597-0066

Voted the World’s Best Romantic Hotel in 2014, "Hastings House offers both Fine and Casual dining in either the main dining room or in our newly designed Bistro. Both menus are inspired by award winning chef Marcel Kauer using the freshest of local ingredients" 1-800-661-9255 160 Upper Ganges Road, Salt Spring Island

THE COMMUNITY FARM STORE The Community Farm Store, organic health and whole food market in Duncan. Open 7 days per week. 10,0000 square feet of planet friendly market style shopping … with heart. No GMO’s! Good for you, good for the planet. 5380 Trans Canada Hwy, Duncan 250-748-6227

Vegetarian & Gluten Wise Options

SPECIALTY SHOPS FIG DELICATESSEN Fig Delicatessen, caters to the Mediterranean soul. Featuring everything from pomegranate molasses to preserved lemons, and a wide selection of Olive Oils. We will provide you with more than enough inspiration for tonight's dinner. While you shop, enjoy one of our delicious options for a healthy, and fresh meal. Open all week. 1551 Cedar Hill Road (south side between Cedar Hill Crossroad and Shelbourne) 1-250-727-3632



1-800-661-9255 Salt Spring Island


EAT Magazine March_Apr 2015_Victoria_48_Layout 1 2/27/15 3:37 PM Page 45

TALK By Rebecca Baugniet

What the Pros Know For this issue, we asked staff at local specialty grocery stores to tell us about one ingredient or product they feel is underappreciated Yasser Youssef, Owner, Fig Deli, 250-727-3632 My choice for an ingredient that more people should know about is pomegranate molasses. It has unlimited health benefits due to high levels of antioxidants, as well as a tremendous culinary value. It is most commonly used in salad dressings, marinades, reductions and dips. The best part is it is also very reasonably priced! Gokhan Duman, Owner, Seven Valleys Fine Food and Deli, 250-382-9998 I would say sumac is the most underappreciated ingredient I sell. This spice is a little bit sour, a little bit citrusy, and adds great flavour when marinating meats. It is very versatile – widely used in Iran with meats and in Turkey in salad dressings. It is also the key ingredient in za’atar (spice blend). The sumac we carry comes from Lebanon or Turkey and is a great addition to your spice collection. Leon Zetler, Owner, Aubergine Specialty Foods, 250-590-1031 Mrs. Ball’s Chutney. This is a fantastic South African product that is underappreciated here in Canada. Made with peaches and apricots, it comes in three varieties; Original Recipe, Hot Chutney and Peach Chutney. My favourite is the Hot Chutney – it adds that extra ‘oomph’ or bite to your meal. Great with curries and stews, it is an excellent winter condiment. You can tell a good chutney by the way it pours out of the jar – the slower the pour, the better the quality of the chutney. Ten Liu, Employee, Fisgard Market, 250-383-6969 Something I would like more people to know about is our selection of fresh herbs and spices; fresh lime leaves, fresh turmeric, fresh galangal and fresh lemongrass. These ingredients are very common in many Asian cuisines, but can be hard to find locally. We have a great supplier in Vancouver and the quality of these ingredients is excellent. Mat, Owner, Blair Mart, (250) 721-1626 The ingredient more people should know about is barberry (barberis). It has ten times more antioxidants than any other berry, including goji. We sell dried barberry from Iran – it is very common in Persian cooking and is especially good in a rice pilaf with saffron. It is also used as a garnish, with chopped pistachios on top of rice dishes, or cooked with chicken. You can also put it on top of your cereal, or in smoothies – it is very versatile. Lauren Cafe, Dry Goods Expert, Ottavio Italian Bakery and Delicatessen, (250) 592-4080 One product we’d like more people to be aware of is the Frantoio Muraglia Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It is one of our newer olive oils, priced at $13 for 250ml. It comes in a sealed tin so it stores well, light can’t damage it, and the packaging is beautiful, so makes a great gift. It is the most buttery olive oil in the house at the moment samples available on request. Masami Hayashi, Manager, Fujiya Japanese Foods, (250) 598-3711 There are two items we sell that we feel are rather underappreciated. The first one is gobo, known here in Canada as burdock root. We sometimes get it from Umi Nami farm in Metchosin, but if it’s not available then we import it from China. It’s really good for you – it has lots of fiber. You can stir-fry it or add it to stews, so it’s very versatile. The second product we chose is shirataki noodles – a zero-calorie noodle made from yams. We get them from Japan and they are great in soups and other noodle dishes. MARCH | APRIL 2015


EAT Magazine March_Apr 2015_Victoria_48_Layout 1 2/27/15 3:37 PM Page 46

The Buzz HOUSEGUEST: A NEW SERIES OF CURATED POP-UP CULINARY EXPERIENCES VICTORIA: Without a doubt, the biggest buzz around town at the moment is the recent announcement that Whole Foods Market will, at long last, be opening a location at Uptown. Rumours have been and EAT Magazine present

circulating for some time on this very subject, so it is nice to have them confirmed. However, fans of the Texas-

Chef Lisa Ahier of Sobo with Chef Ali Ryan

based grocery chain will need to be patient a little longer – the store has yet to be built (as part of Uptown’s Phase 3 development), and the anticipated opening is slated for Fall 2016. ( How exactly is this exciting from a local food perspective, you may be wonder-


ing. For those not yet familiar with the brand, Whole Foods specializes in organic and natural foods, and

Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub

the company likes to invest in local food producers. To this end, they have already announced a $58k

April 19th, 2015 7pm - 9pm

low-interest loan to Comox Valley-based Tree Island Gourmet Yogurt company, to allow them to expand operations. ( Tree Island Yogurt is popping up at more and more locations, and is the base for Kulture Frozen

Tickets: $60 at Spinnakers and

Yogurt, served at the recently rebranded Fresh Coast Health Food Bar at 3749 Shelbourne St. In Original culinary exchange program pairs Vancouver Islands top talent with industry innovators from the west coast of North America.

addition to the small batch froyo, Fresh Coast specializes in cold pressed juices. These raw, unpasteurized juices are pressed and bottled in store. Other menu items include the Cowichan Cesar wrap, the Sprout Lake salad and the Saanich Fair smoothie. Fellow caffeine addicts, you have and EAT Magazine present a three part dinner series and industry outreach program featuring edible highlights from Tofino, Portland and Seattle. A rotating host of local venues in an exciting pop-up format will be happen on the third Sunday of each month.

a couple of new spots to try out: Ground Control Café has opened in the Tectoria building at 777 Fort St, boasting the most powerful fibre optic Wi-Fi in their Tilted Rocket work/study lounge. ( And Second Crack Coffee Lab is now open at 2612 Bridge St. The lab takes its name from the stage in the roasting profile “where the bean starts to reveal its full flavour”.

First up is Sobo - a destination restaurant with visitors making the pilgrimage to the west coast of Vancouver Island just to taste chef Lisa Ahier's cooking--which is, to use Tofino slang, simply "killer". Spinnakers, 308 Catherine St, Victoria, Phone:(250) 386-2739

( Cook’s Day Off has opened the Vista Bistro in the new Toyota dealership at 3050 Douglas St. ( Jojo’s Jajangmyeon, the Korean restaurant on Cedar Hill X Road closed late last year and a new Chinese restaurant, Heart of Asia has taken over the location. After a kitchen fire caused extensive damage to the restaurant in late January, Market Square’s Café Mexico is closed until further notice. ( Another Market Square food stop, The Baked Potato, also closed its doors this winter (though unrelated to the fire). Over on Fort St. Little Jumbo has a welcomed a new chef, Jesse Cole, as well as a new GM, Chris Jones. ( Change is also afoot at Ulla, rumoured to be undergoing a rebranding to Olo – stay tuned. If you are looking for a contemporary twist on Japanese food, then the place to try is The Next, a new Japanese restaurant on Cook St. Chef Takashi Hiraoka (former sushi chef at the Brentwood Bay Resort)

Coming up in May is a little event I’m involved in and wanted to let you know about, if you’ll kindly pardon the self-promotion. A few months ago, the Greater Victoria Public Library approached me about hosting some sort of food-writing event, and the idea for a program called Food Bloggers Dish! came to life. On the evening of May 20th, I will be hosting a panel discussion about food blogging with three of Victoria’s most accomplished food bloggers; Amy Bronee (, Elizabeth Nyland ( and Heidi Fink ( The event is free but there are a limited number of seats, so early registration is recommended. You can register online at - I hope to see some of you there! —REBECCA BAUGNIET

is trained in French cuisine and brings a fresh approach, and new flavour profiles, to the Japanese menu. People are raving about innovative combinations like roasted garlic and Ahi tuna or salmon sushi with thyme. (Read a full review online at

COWICHAN VALLEY | UP ISLAND: March has come once again, making me think back to when I was a kid growing up in Ontario, loaded into the station wagon to pick spring onions, wild asparagus or ramps in the spring, and strawberries and raspberries through the summer. I couldn't wait to sample, picking double because I knew I'd eat at least half before we ever got home. These days it's much harder to align my foraging expeditions with what is growing and when so I sometimes have to rely on local restaurants to get my fix. A good place to start is the Cowichan area with Deerholme Farms Spring Foraging Workshop, Spring Equinox Dinner and Mushroom Cooking Class starting in March. And keep an eye out for Blue Grouse Estate Winery to showcase their new tasting room soon too. In April, Cowichan hosts the Cowichan Valley Whiskey Festival for an extended look at all things whiskey, including a night of tasting along with appetizers at the Oceanfront Suites in Cow Bay. (, ( or ( for details. Moving on to Salt Spring, there is ample opportunity to get fresh- from-the-dirt delicacies at the famous Salt Spring Island Saturday Market in Ganges which opens for the season on April 4th. The Relais & Chateaux boutique Hastings House Hotel opens on March 1st with new GM Eric Bishop and an innovative 3-course $38 Prix Fixe menu from award winning chef Marcel Kauer. The freshest local ingredients will go into this evolving menu such as pacific seafood hot pot, famed Salt Spring lamb and wild blackberry creme brûlée along with a new wine list to compliment the exceptional cuisine. Calvin's Bistro in Ganges has been recently sold and reportedly taken over by the owners of The Local. Look for a June or later opening and more details to follow. Also look for a new seafood menu from chef Shawn Walton of the wonderful Auntie Pesto's to debut Dungeness crab several ways this spring! For the first time there are two food trucks on Salt Spring to choose from; El Loco Taco and a new Greek truck called



EAT Magazine March_Apr 2015_Victoria_48_Layout 1 2/27/15 3:37 PM Page 47

The Buzz Ethos Mediterranean Food Cart. Find them in various strategic locations around Ganges. Visit (, ( Just like those Russian nesting dolls that when opened reveal new and exciting things, longtime Island favorite McLean's Specialty Foods in Nanaimo appears to be familiar on the outside but is filled with delectable European specialties inside, waiting for your discovery. This April 6th marks McLean's 23rd anniversary and there are sure to be lots of extra reasons to make it a must-stop, from local cheeses to hard to find stiltons and beautiful bacon! stop in for some soup and one of the best BLT's to be found on this island whilst you fill your basket with goodies to go with your freshly foraged bounty. ( You may have already heard the buzz about chef Ryan Zuvichs' newest venture La Stella in Nanaimo's Old Quarter where he serves a menu of Napoli style wood fired pizza with a local and seasonal trend, but if you have ever been lucky enough to dine at his French inspired Hilltop Bistro you'll know it's worth a look, without a word being spoken. Manvirro's Indian Grill has opened a second location - the original being in Courtenay - on Terminal Ave in Nanaimo, serving authentic East Indian flavours. You can peruse their full menus at (, ( So, foregoing any digging, or long road trips it's simple to sample our spring delicacies without going to too much trouble or compromising any business deadlines. Get out there and let your taste buds remember what your heart hasn't forgotten. —KIRSTEN TYLER TOFINO: The Schooner Restaurant and Lounge is celebrating 66 years in business this year at its 331 Campbell St. location in downtown Tofino. When the storied building—originally the hospital building at the World War II base at Long Beach—was moved to its present location in 1949, it was still in the middle of the woods. How times have changed! Always a restaurant, it was first Vic’s Coffee Bar, then the Lone Cone Café. Current owners the Bruce family took over in 1968, and the restaurant became well known for matriarch Gloria Bruce’s Schooner burgers and fish and chips. Three Vietnam War draft dodgers were the visionaries for the ship that sailed its way into the dining room in 1974, becoming a permanent part of the architecture of the building. Current owner Mare Bruce renovated the building, adding an upstairs lounge and dining area. Other than venturing in for a Titan Caeser or

1715 Government Street 250.475.6260

Dinner 5:30 - 11 pm Tuesday to Saturday

the famous Admiral’s Plate, you can also experience the Schooner with a spring cooking class. Each class has a theme, and is geared to both the beginner and advanced chef. For more information call 250-725-3444 or visit ( for more information. The little bus that could continues to expand its reach with new Tacofino restaurant locations in Victoria and Gastown. In Vancouver, the Blood Alley location at 15 W. Cordova is a take-out burrito bar and sit-down taco bar with many new menu items and cocktails. That makes three Vancouver locations to sample this Tofino-born Mexican fare — the Commissary, a mobile food truck (currently closed for the winter), and now the Gastown location. The Victoria location, at 787 Fort St. (featured in the Jan-Feb edition of EAT), joins the burrito truck to expand Tacofino’s offerings there. Luckily the Tofino location is also going strong, and open year-round at it’s 1180 Pacific Rim location (back of the lot). ( Wildside Grill reopened in February after some winter renovations to its kitchen space at the 1180 Pacific Rim Hwy location in the Live to Surf complex. We look forward to another season of fresh seafood and amazing to-go staples! See the menu at (

Featuring local, all natural, free-range NEW Deli meats and salamis

The SoBo Cookbook: Recipes from the Tofino Restaurant at the End of the Canadian Road by Lisa Ahier was recently named one of the best 20 cookbooks of 2014 by The Globe and Mail. After a brief winter closure, SoBo Restaurant was back open for business Feb. 16. ( As noted in a previous column, the owners of the Spotted Bear Bistro have converted that restaurant

Quality meats, Poultry, Cheeses,

into a new venture called Kuma Tofino (Kuma means bear in Japanese). Opened in January, Kuma serves Japanese comfort food in a casual, relaxed atmosphere. Also proprietors of Shika Provisions

Specialty Products

on Bowen Island, Rob Leadley and Mitsumi Kawai now bring the tradition of Mitsumi’s family recipes to Kuma. The restaurant, located at 101-120 Fourth St. (in the Wilson Building at the corner of Fourth

& Condiments

and Campbell Sts.), is currently open 4-Close Wed-Sun, and Kuma hour, with food and drink specials, is daily from 4-5:30pm. Visit ( for more information. We are looking forward to another Pacific Rim Whale Festival, scheduled for March 14-22 this year. Many food-inspired events are part of this popular Spring Break festival, included a salmon barbecue to open the festivities and the Chowder Chowdown on the final day. Visit for a complete listing of events. —JEN DART

2577 Cadboro Bay Road,VICTORIA

592-0823 MARCH | APRIL 2015


EAT Magazine March_Apr 2015_Victoria_48_Layout 1 2/27/15 3:37 PM Page 48

Penna & Co. #130 – 777 Royal Oak Drive Victoria 250-727-2110

Pots & Paraphernalia 863 Canada Avenue Duncan 250-748-4614

Comox, Courtenay, Powell River, and Qualicum Beach

Cookware | Bakeware | Tableware | Accessories

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