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EAT Magazine May/June 2018_Layout 1 4/30/18 11:11 AM Page 1

R E S TA U R A N T S | R E C I P E S | W I N E S | F O O D | C U LT U R E ®

LOCAL FOOD & CULTURE

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RESTAURANT RESERVATIONS ARE GETTING HARDER TO COME BY. From line-ups to technology, what are your choices?

URBAN FARM • BC SPOT PRAWN BLT • CHEFS’ KNIVES • RICE • STRAWBERRIES • THE OLD FASHIONED • UMAMI PORK CHOPS • FISH & CHIPS

LOCAL FOOD & CULTURE • MAY | JUNES 2018 ISSUE 22-03 INDEPENDENT & ISLAND OWNED

Because you need something fresh: Can you say Artichoke Salad?


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Welcome I FIRST WROTE ABOUT THE CHANGES COMING TO FINE DINING BACK IN 2010. In those days, restaurant rents were getting more expensive, and chefs wanting their own places turned to opening underground restaurants and pop-ups. These refugees from fine dining kitchens were looking for ways to break down established systems and the freedom to cook whatever and whenever they wanted. Fast-forward to today, and this momentum has only picked up speed. Chefs and restaurateurs are finding more creative ways to gain a foothold in the ever more expensive restaurant business. Self-serve counter restaurants and food trucks were some of the first attempts at lowering expenses while still keeping the quality of the food high. Food halls followed, where high quality, take-out restaurants gathered together under a single roof to provide a smorg of choices for the eater. A great example is The Pine Street Market in Portland, where nine chefs and various purveyors are all under one roof. In this issue, we take a look at several offshoots related to solving restaurant economics. Jill Van Gyn writes about The Kitchen by Accio, where four of Victoria's top chefs work out of one kitchen to prepare high-quality delivery food and Cinda Chavich looks at how diners are accessing restaurant tables in this age of challenging industry economics and high tech. At this time of year, one of my favourite local foods is BC spot prawns. Isabelle Bulotta builds a better BLT sandwich, piling spot prawns atop bacon and the fixings and slathered with her favourite secret sauce. The season is short; get them while you can. Good Eating!

R EGIONAL ITALIAN COOKING MEETS THE COMOX VALLEY

Gary Hynes

GARY HYNES FOUNDER & EDITOR

CITY EATS:

Il Falcone Restaurant | Downtown Courtenay | ilfalcone.ca

PREPARED BY STAFF (REBECCA BAUGNIET IS OFF)

If you like good jazz, good wine and good food this might be for you. Blue Grouse Estate Winery is hosting a Musical Feast at the Cowichan winery on May 20 from 6-10pm. Noted chef Bill Jones will provide canapés and a four-course dinner paired with Blue Grouse wines. New York-based Mish Piatigorsky will play piano. $150 plus fees and taxes. Contact Jenny Garlini, 250-743-3834. Vista 18 Westcoast Grill & Wine Bar celebrated its 18th birthday on

Editor’s Pick

April 18, 2018. To mark the occasion chef Mike Dunlop will kick-off a three-course “Legacy” menu that showcases its best timeless dishes such as Crispy Humboldt Squid, which Dunlop says, “We still get the

Cucina Italiana

same squid from Finest at Sea and we still prepare it the exact same way. It’s hard to improve on a classic like that.” The “Legacy” menu includes a complimentary glass of sparkling wine and a chance to win an in-house draw for a free night stay in one of the Chateau Victoria’s

Visit eatmagazine.ca for news and events from:

newly renovated penthouse suites. The special menu is expected to be available for the next year. This celebration provides an opportunity to reflect on Vista 18’s 18 years and how the city has changed during that time. The late Mr. Clive Piercy, who founded Vista 18 and the Chateau Victoria Hotel, believed in the need to relax, slow down, and savour—a belief with which he imbued his restaurant.

VISTA18.COM

COWICHAN VALLEY

Flavia Costi, a Certified Italian Master Cheese Taster, has joined forces

UP ISLAND

with her brother Claudio Costi, owner and baker of La Tana Bakery, to

TOFINO

expand the business by making fresh pasta daily in the newly leased 100 sq. ft. space beside the bakery and offering unique cheese tasting events

Life tastes better in the garden 106 Superior Street | 250.380.0088 | IlCovoTrattoria.ca

UCLUELET

monthly. Flavia will maintain the business' principle of Italian authen-

VANCOUVER

ticity and also use the organic and local ingredients that have characterized La Tana Bakery products since inception.

LATANA.CA 

Milestones has unveiled a new look at their newly renovated Inner


EAT Magazine May/June 2018_Layout 1 4/30/18 11:11 AM Page 3

CITY EATS:

MARCH / APRIL

Harbour location. “This is another step forward

21, July 19, and Aug. 16. Tickets for each dinner

in the transformation of the Milestones brand.,”

are $149 pp. On May 29, Alderlea Vineyards

said Milestones VP of Operations, John

will be the first winery to be featured.

Dormer. The décor has been dramatically

OAKBAYBEACHHOTEL.COM

modernized and service standards have been

TAKE A BITE

The second annual Mentorship Dinner will take

refreshed. The only thing that hasn’t changed is

place at AURA Restaurant on June 12. Four of

the picturesque view of the Victoria Inner

Chef Ito’s mentored apprentice chefs will

Harbour – some the best views in the city.

pamper guests with their gourmet creations,

MILESTONESRESTAURANTS.COM

each presenting a course showcasing the best of

Hester Creek in the Okanagan has announced

their craft. “My approach has always been to

the 50th anniversary of their 76-acre estate

teach collaboration and dedication, but I also

vineyard. It was first planted in 1968. Virtually

nurture the individual talent and creativity in

unheard of at the time for BC, over 80 classic

every chef I mentor,” says Chef Ito. “This

European vinfera grapes were planted. “We are

evening is about giving guests the absolute best

honoured to be a steward of these rare old

of those skills in a sensory-rich culinary experi-

vines," said Hester Creek Estate Winery

ence.” Tickets are $79 plus tax and gratuity. To

President Mark Sheridan. Look for special

reserve tickets, call 250-414-6739.

bottlings and commemorative events through-

This year’s Tofino Food & Wine festival takes

out the year. HESTERCREEK.COM 

place June 1-3. Along with the Grazing in the

They’re celebrating in the Cowichan Valley as

Gardens main event, take in a number of other

Bruce and Leslie Stewart hit the 10-year mark

events like The Cocktail Show at the Schooner

at True Grain Bakery in Cowichan Bay. “Look-

Restaurant. For ticket info and a complete list

ing back, I am reminded how much we have

of events go to TOFINOFOODANDWINEFESTIVAL.COM

learned and been inspired by others. It has been

The Nimble Bar School has opened in Victoria

a great experience for us, hard to believe it has

is taking students for its May 7 classes. Includes

been a decade”, said Bruce Stewart, co-owner.

work-class techniques from award-winning pros

True Grain Bakeries can also be found in

with 30 hours of training at Victoria bars. Call

Summerland and Courtenay. Fresh bread can

250-589-7222 to register.

The ninth annual Fernwood Bites will fill Fernwood Square Sunday, June 24th between 5:30-8:00pm. with the best food and drink Southern Vancouver has to offer. There’s a cozy atmosphere surrounding the iconic gazebo, with live music serenading guests from The Belfry’s balcony, delicious offerings from Victoria eateries, local beer and wine and some of the finest spirits in town – there’s also plenty of non-alcoholic drinks, too! Silent Auction items and the ever-popular Art Auction will be front and centre because this is a fundraiser, after all. Join over thirty local food and drink providers in this unique atmosphere. Fernwood Bites is an annual fundraiser organized by and for Fernwood Neighbourhood Resource Group. All funds raised go towards programs and work to support the neighbourhood including affordable housing, family, youth, and seniors support programs, food security projects such as The Good Food Box and The Gift of Good Food, and arts & cultural events like the Pole Painting Project and FernFest. All ticket sales directly support Fernwood NRG’s work.

Ma s t h e a d FOUNDER & EDITOR

Gary Hynes PUBLISHER

Pacific Island Gourmet CONTRIBUTING EDITOR

Carolyn Bateman VANCOUVER CONTRIBUTING EDITOR

Julie Pegg SENIOR WINE WRITER

Larry Arnold PRODUCTION

Gary Hynes DESIGN CONSULTANT

Aleya Samji COPYEDITOR

Cynthia Annett REGIONAL REPORTERS

Tofino Ucluelet, Jen Dart Victoria, Rebecca Baugniet Cowichan Valley-Up Island, Kirsten Tyler Vancouver, Jennifer Carter CONTRIBUTORS

With over 30 local, organic farmers, Moss Street

Larry Arnold Joseph Blake Isabelle Bulota Marie-Eve Charron Cinda Chavich Pam Durkin Lindsay Eden Lillie Louise Major Sherri Martin Elizabeth Monk Daniel Murphy Daisy Orser Elizabeth Nyland Adrian Paradis André Rozon Adrien Sala Shelora Sheldan Shawn Soole Jill Van Gyn Johann Vincent Rebecca Wellman

Market is Victoria's premier farmers market.

COVER

Also featured are another 100+ crafters,

Marie-Eve Charron (styling) & André Rozon (photo)

also be ordered and picked up in Duncan or Victoria via the Cow-op

COW-OP.CA

Don’t miss out on Fernwood Bites—it has sold out every year since it began. Tickets at fernwoodbites2018.eventbrite.ca

The opening bell at 10am on Saturday, May 5th will ring in Moss Street Market's 27th season.

artisans, bakers, food vendors, distillers, brew-

ADVERTISING DIRECTOR

ers, and vintners—all with locally made offer-

Gary Hynes

ings. At the corner of Moss and Fairfield Rd.

SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER 

Susan Worrall

MOSSSTREETMARKET.COM

MARKETING DIRECTOR

Ron Metella

The Oak Bay Beach Hotel’s culinary team is

FACEBOOK/EATMAGAZINE

heading for the property’s seaside gardens yet

TWITTER/EATMAGAZINE

again this summer, with their second annual

INSTAGRAM/EATMAG

Winemaker’s Long Table Dinner series. Each

For advertising and other inquiries:

dinner will be served in the seaside gardens of

250.384.9042, editor@eatmagazine.ca ONLINE EatMagazine.ca, TheEatJournal.com MAILING ADDRESS Box 5225, Victoria, BC, V8R 6N4 STOCKISTS EAT is delivered to over 300 pick-up locations in BC. Visit our website for locations. PHONE

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the Oak Bay Beach Hotel, on the edge of the Salish Sea, and will include a multi-course fam-

Breakfast Daily 7am

ily-style dinner, created by Executive Chef Kreg Graham with British Columbia wines presented and poured by our guest winemakers and winery

2232 OAK BAY AVE.

250.590.7424

VISAVISOAKBAY.COM

PRINTED IN BRITISH COLUMBIA  EAT ® is a registered trademark.

owners. Dinners are scheduled for May 29, June

Est. 1999

3


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FOOD MATTERS

BOOZY DESSERTS A YEAR AGO I WROTE AN ARTICLE for EAT on quirkily named British desserts—flummery, fool, Eton mess as well as sherry-laced trifle and syllabub. The English, it seems, like to lace all sorts of puddings with booze. Nigella Lawson in How to Eat macerates rhubarb in Muscat for a lighter take on trifle. Then there is summer pudding, a bread-and-berry dessert with a number of variations, one of which takes well to orange liqueur. Best made and moulded in a traditional pudding basin (the white crockery sort), slices of white, day-old bread line the bowl into which is then poured a lightly stewed “boozy compote” of raspberries, currants, cherries and blueberries and covered with a “lid” of sliced bread. Set a saucer or small plate atop the pudding and a large tin of tomatoes atop the plate to weigh the pudding down. Left overnight in the fridge, the pudding sets, soaking up the boozy juice and fruit. Carefully upended onto a plate, it is ready for a good dollop of chilled whipped cream. On a blistering day, that British of all spirits, gin, can be easily turned into a refreshing gin and tonic sorbet, splashed over a mixed berry cup garnished with a few mint leaves or infused

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MAY/JUNE 2018

into a lavender custard. A grown-up iced “lolly” (popsicle to us) made from Pimm’s or white rum and berries is also rather nice. I like to toss chilled strawberries with a little red wine and a pinch of sugar and serve with a quick grind of black pepper. Sounds odd, but it is extremely tasty. The Italians also tend to spike cakes and puddings. Lidia Bastianich (Lidia’s Italy) omits espresso and brandy, rum, Kahlúa or sweet Marsala add-ins in favour of lemons and limoncello for a lighter take on tiramisu. Rather than cutting it into squares, she opts for serving the lemony cakey pudding in pretty wine goblets. Summer fruits are not included in Bastianich’s recipe, but a few berries scattered over such bright lemony-ness should not be discounted. I also stumbled on an appealing recipe on The Guardian website for strawberries with zabaglione cream, into which is whisked traditional Marsala. I had never come across zabaglione with fresh berries yet wouldn’t hesitate to give it a whirl. And to really chill down on a hot afternoon, icy chards of granita made simply from sugar, water, watermelon and a dash of grappa should do the trick. Granitas as well as sherbets, or sorbets, are an ideal tummy

Spiking summer desserts with brandies, liqueurs, gin, Pimm’s, rum and other spirits. tamer after a meal and strong coffee. In the 1970s, renowned chef and New York Times food writer Craig Claiborne had a penchant for writing about liqueurspiked desserts. The most famous was a Brandy Alexander pie with a heady kick. A more seasonal fit is an adaptation that appears in Craig Claiborne’s Favorites from The New York Times (1975): mango slices in champagne and framboise, a raspberry eau de vie. I go all out for raspberries, dousing them in bubbly wine and boosting the berries and wine with a touch of the framboise. If matching rather than mixing dessert with wine or spirit is your preference, there’s plenty of choice. Make sure, however, that the dessert is never sweeter than the drink. Elisabeth Luard in Saffron and Sunshine offers a simple pairing of


EAT Magazine May/June 2018_Layout 1 4/30/18 11:11 AM Page 5

JULIE PEGG

introducing

JA L A PEÑ O M A RGA RITA

cazadores reposado tequila, triple sec, lime, jalapeño, cilantro, smoked chili salt.

OUR R ROOTS OO TS R RUN UN DEEP

LEMOS AND LIMONCELLO TIRAMISU Bosnian clotted cream with wild strawberries. Although intended as a mezze (appetizer), it makes a delightful follow-up to dinner. Luard writes, “Gently turn [8 oz] clotted cream with [4 oz] strawberries. No sugar. Pile in a pretty dish and provide little spoons. Serve with tiny glasses of plum brandy [pure, clear and unsweetened] or tall glasses of freshly made lemonade.” Boozy desserts are not about hammering your head with alcohol and sugar, although it’s hardly prudent to serve them to children or someone who doesn’t imbibe. For me, it’s all about balancing the sweet with an agreeable bitterness that a wine or spirit lends to a dessert. Luard’s Scottish recipe for syllabub (The Old World Kitchen) ends with “old wives will tell you that a syllabub without brandy is like kissing a man without a moustache.” If that were the first quote I had read on the merits of boozy desserts, though, I’m not sure I’d have been convinced.

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Get fresh

STRAWBERRIES Quite simply, THE taste of early summer. STRAWBERRIES ARE BOTANICALLY CLASSIFIED AS AN ACCESSORY FRUIT

counterpart coming from Mexico but it’s not just our rose-coloured glasses making this

but considered by many to be THE fruit. The fruit that everyone loves, that all kids will

so. Because they can be picked ripe, and often daily, our farmers are able to favour

eat, and that has been celebrated the world over, honoured in poetry and been revered for

varieties known for their flavour profile and sugar content, rather than their ability to

centuries.

sustain an unrealistic shelf life and be shipped without damaging.

These edible gems are widely considered our spring’s first fruit, but don’t overlook

Few things bring out our loyalty to local produce more than strawberries. We are willing

rhubarb, which would be lost without the strawberry anyway. Though you can easily, and

to drive across town for the first pint of the season, and we all know that little basket never

often regrettably, acquire imported strawberries year round, Victoria’s local growing

makes it all the way home. Bring up local strawberries at a dinner party in Victoria and

season now stretches from April to October on a good year due to staggered varieties,

everyone will have a favourite berry grower. From Farmer Galey to Farmer Dan, to

ever-bearing plants and greenhouse growing. The strawberry glut, which we look forward

Gobind or Guité’s, Todd Creek, Oldfield or Longview, many harbour a quite passionate

to when flats are on sale at our favourite market, generally falls in June when local

allegiance to “their” strawberry farm. These berries capture the taste of home, of B.C.

production is at its highest. This is the time to celebrate what is arguably the region’s most

summers, of trips to the U-pick fields as kids, or with our kids, or both.

delicious growing season by shamelessly hoarding strawberries to your heart’s content.

They say that local strawberries taste best when eaten close to their source. Find out for

Jam them, pie them, smoothie them, freeze them, put them in your salad or on your

yourself and create a memory to savour. Drive to your local berry farm and munch one or

sandwich; by any means you can imagine, make the most of the opportunity to stretch the

20 while standing in the sunshine in the field where they grew, close your eyes and

season.

appreciate it, while strawberry juice drips on your sneakers. This is summer.

Local summer strawberries are of course exponentially more flavourful than their

Daisy Orser is co-owner of The Root Cellar Village Green Grocer

WE STEAK OUR REPUTATION ON IT

ISLAND RAISED 6

MAY/JUNE 2018

2032 OAK BAY AVE


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DAISY ORSER

SELECTION: Local strawberries are at their best as close to harvest as possible. They won’t be blemish free; eat them anyways. Their imperfections are part of their charm. Any over-ripe berries are perfect for jam or smoothies. STORAGE: Avoid having to store them, but if you must, cover loosely and refrigerate up to two days. Wash immediately before consuming as moisture leads to hastened spoilage. TASTE: Loved for their distinct tangy sweetness, Vancouver Island berry growers favour Albion & Rainier strawberry varieties in order to deliver that high sugar content that defines local berry season. R A I N I E R : Is a ‘June Bearing ’ variety with high sugar levels delivering robust flavour. A L B I O N : Is an ‘Everbearing ’ variety which lengthens our harvest season substantially, while still delivering that berry sweetness we know and love. TREND: The celebration of strawberries isn’t going anywhere. During their growing season, local menus are bursting with strawberry salads, sweets, treats and lately even pickles (when green). SUSTAINABILIT Y: Support your local berry growers by stocking up when berries are at their peak . Avoid buying imported berries during the off-season by freezing, canning, pie-ing and jamming when the fruit is available at your local market in flats fresh from our local farms. G. HYNES

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REPORTER

THE CHEFS AT THE KITCHEN BY ACCIO: LEFT TO RIGHT - SANDI IRVING, DUNCAN BOOTH, BRIAN KREMER, JAIMIE CUMMINS Photo by Sherri Martin 8

MAY/JUNE 2018


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The Kitchen By Accio

T

HUDSON MARKET, 1701 DOUGLAS ST., VICTORIA 778-440-4663 | VERYGOODBUTCHERS.COM 

he Kitchen by Accio (pronounced axe-ee-o) is

Duncan Booth, referring to the pressures of owning your own

Without solutions like The Kitchen, Victoria may start to fall

setting a new standard. Chefs no longer have to

restaurant. Not only are they being paid a living wage, but the

victim to a sort of brain drain of talented chefs. Increasingly,

stake their lives on opening up their own

chefs are also enjoying what Irving calls “a living lifestyle.” “We

chefs are seeking out jobs that are benefited and salaried in lieu

restaurant to be at the peak of their game. The

are doing 12 hours shifts with three days off,” she says, “and none

of striking out on their own. Or they are switching careers all

traditional restaurant business model has been under siege for

of us can believe it. There is a demand for positions like this.

together. “[The industry] is really grappling with that, people are

years now. Food prices are up, good staff are elusive and startup

People are tired, it’s a real grind to do these 12-hour shifts week

thinking of leaving,” says Wilson. The sharing economy’s merger

costs are running into the hundreds of thousands. The model is

in and week out and not get paid for it.”

with the tech industry has started to address solutions in

no longer tenable, and something had to give. (Note: The

housing, transportation and income supplementation, and it

Kitchen is an offshoot from Accio, which is an on demand

feels only natural that this type of solution would finally pull in

delivery service for restaurants and retail) And give it did. Enter The Kitchen by Accio, brainchild of serial restaurateur and foodie savant Sterling Grice (Foo, Foo Ramen, Part and Parcel) and Accio CEO Mike Rowe. We can’t really call it a restaurant by the conventional definition, but it would be doing the concept a disservice to call it food delivery. However, just like Airbnb isn’t a hotel and Uber isn’t a cab company, The Kitchen isn’t a restaurant, but it does fill the need for a creative economic solution to a growing crisis that can keep up with the demands of a population increasingly directed and influenced by technology.

THE KITCHEN HAS ASSEMBLED AN ALL-STAR TEAM OF CHEFS, OR “CONCEPT LEADS,” TO DESIGN AND COOK CHEFDRIVEN, FAST-CASUAL DISHES FOR DELIVERY.

the restaurant industry. However, these business models are not solely problem-driven. They are equally driven by demand. The way we want to experience food is changing, as well. Certainly, there will always be a place for the conventional restaurant, and changes to the model might not exclusively include going the tech route (the slow food movement is, of course, enjoying a robust resurgence), but there is a demand for high-quality food delivered to the home. Many people are working more than one job, and the tether of technology often means bringing work home with us. Despite living increasingly time-constrained lives, people are demanding that the availability of quality food and ingredients keep pace with

The Kitchen has assembled an all-star team of chefs, or “concept leads,” to design and cook chef-driven, fast-casual

The restaurant industry, not just in Victoria, but globally, is set

their lifestyles. “People want that option—they want [ingredi-

dishes for delivery. “Every item is product-tested for delivery,”

to undergo some seismic shifts. The way food is served, deliv-

ents like] organic produce and ethically raised meat delivered

says Sandy Irving, one of The Kitchen’s concept leads and for-

ered and consumed is changing at a rapid pace, and the ability

to their door. They don’t want to compromise by having to order

mer executive chef for Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort. “We

to shift with the changing tide has become essential. “The

pizza or Chinese food,” says Wilson. Concept lead Brian

come up with a new menu item and it sits in a box for 20 minutes

traditional model is no longer working,” says Grice, “change is

Kremer, formerly of Brasserie L’Ecole, has reverse-engineered

before we touch it, and if it makes it in terms of taste and

coming and those who don’t adapt may not make it.” Creative

a burger and fries that blows fast-food burgers out of the water,

texture, we pass it on to the menu. It’s going to be creative, well

solutions to the crisis in the restaurant industry have been

giving people the option for high-quality, fast-casual, locally

sourced and delicious.”

popping up in cities such as Dallas, London, Toronto, Pittsburgh

sourced food they can enjoy from the comfort of their living

and now here in Victoria. Borrowed from the successes in the

rooms.

tech industry, the idea of a “restaurant incubator” allows chefs to

The Kitchen by Accio has created a vision (albeit emerging) for

stretch into their concepts without the massive risk associated

the future. CEO Mike Rowe expanded on that vision, saying,

with opening up a conventional restaurant on their own. There

“What we can do as a tech company is create concepts on the

are shared resources and supports that allow concepts to be

spot that respond to social media trends without having to pull

vetted and tested with the public, which might then encourage a

together hundreds of thousands of dollars to open a restaurant.

chef to go out on their own.

If we want to do poke, we can do poke. We will also be able to

those super-slim margins which creates an opportunity for

The Kitchen intends to keep its concept leads in-house, and in

account for variables like diet, nutrition and allergies with [our

growth that wouldn’t otherwise be there if we relied on conven-

speaking with all four leads, it is clear they have no intention of

technology] that would allow people to filter menu items to suit

tional sources of funding normally associated with running a

leaving. Jamie Cummins, who had recently shuttered the doors

their needs.” The embracing of technology, the change in

restaurant.”

to acclaimed lunch-spot, Relish, has now found a home with The

lifestyle, and the demand for quality has opened a door to a

Kitchen. The demand for chef-driven, fast-casual food was over-

different reality. The restaurant industry has been long overdue

whelming at Relish. “I would have a full dining room, but then I

for a good shakeup and perhaps this is the first rumble. The

would get an order from Accio for like 18 dishes,” says Cummins.

Kitchen model may not be the panacea we are looking for—that

Now sharing a larger kitchen in the Hudson Building with like-

comes with well-rounded policy that addresses pressures on the

minded chefs, and all of the support in place needed to create

wider economy—but it definitely has pioneered a way of think-

restaurant-quality food, has allowed Relish to flourish in the on-

ing that others may be inclined to follow. JILL VAN GYN

But the idea goes well beyond just a shared kitchen that delivers. The Kitchen is funded and run like a tech startup. “We’re using classic startup techniques. We put it out, it’s usertested and we refine it,” says Rowe. Operations manager Sam Wilson expands on that saying, “The tech community is much more investment-driven, and because we are working in that investment-driven tech environment, we are less worried about

This is one of the key elements to the business model. “It’s a merger between two very distinct industries. It’s tech startup meets a restaurant,” says Grice. The investment-driven side of the tech industry put The Kitchen in a position to be able to pay their concept leads/chefs a salary that is roughly 25 percent higher than the national average. “It allows us to focus on the food. There is a lot less peripheral noise,” says concept lead

line world of dining out.

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REBECCA WELLMAN

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MAY/JUNE 2018


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The Coffee Project 1286 MCKENZIE AVE. | 250-472-9495 | THEROOTCELLAR.CA

Red Barn 305-395 MENZIES ST. | 250-590-2062 | REDBARNMARKET.CA

REBECCA WELLMAN

SOME OF THE OFFERINGS AT THE COFFEE PROJECT AT THE ROOT CELLAR: PORK LOIN AND KIMCHI BAGUETTE; SOUTHWEST QUINOA SALAD; MARINATED MUSHROOM SOBA SALAD. A SELECTION OF BAKED GOODS. Two popular local grocers took different paths to expansion earlier this year. Red Barn opened its seventh store, a bright, 6,000-square-foot, new-store space in James Bay behind the Parliament Buildings. In Saanich, Root Cellar opened Coffee Project at its locally focused, 11,000-square-foot outpost at the corner of McKenzie and Blenkinsop. The Coffee Project offers wholesome breakfast, lunch and snack options. A special Root Cellar blend of locally roasted Discovery Coffee, Silk Road Teas, fresh, cold-pressed juices and house-roasted pork loin sandwiches with kimchi, soba salad and Yonni’s doughnuts are some of the items on the Coffee Project’s debut menu. Sitting at the edge of the Blenkinsop Valley’s farm production, Root Cellar’s sprawling offering of local produce, a floral and garden market, full-service butcher and artisanal grocery products has always had a down-home feeling. Folkie live music performances near the cashiers and tables of fresh fruits and vegetables overflowing with abundance outside the store make Root Cellar’s Coffee Project feel like a natural outgrowth of the store’s success, an expansion of more than double in size since the store’s opening in 2008. The Red Barn’s seventh store in the new Capital Park development (which also houses a new James Bay branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library) continues the local chain’s meat- and deli-driven expansion. Red Barn’s Vanalman Avenue smokehouse produces the grocer’s popular double-smoked bacon. It’s featured in the James Bay store’s 18-foot-long sandwich bar and “tall as the barn” sandwiches. “We sell Island-raised beef, chicken, pork and lamb,” explains Red Barn manager Scott Downton. “We also carry beef and turkey Pixie Sticks that we smoke and sell in packages near checkout. Fresh produce, local products and grocery items—our new store serves the neighbourhood from Ogden Point to Beacon Hill Park to the Inner Harbour. A bright, high-ceilinged space with wall-sized heritage photos and lots of glass wrapping around the corner, the James Bay Red Barn is an urban and urbane grocery. They smoke C O N T I N U E D O N T H E N E X T PA G E

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Lunch & Dinner

HAPPIER HOURS

BC Wine $6 a glass

Anytime’s Marina Time.

REBECCA WELLMAN

100% OCEANWISE SUSHI

GIGANTIC TALL AS A BARN SANDWICH WITH TURKEY, DOUBLE-SMOKED BACON AND ALL THE FIXIN’S AT THE RED BARN their own cheese and do party trays for larger groups too. When I visited on a recent sunkissed morning, I was impressed by the staff’s gentle friendliness. No “Hi, neighbour!” newto-the-neighbourhood, over-the-top grinning, just warmth and competence. It’s a recipe for success. Meanwhile, a similar warmth and competence is part of Root Cellar’s rural charm. “We’re proud of our deep roots in the community and see the Coffee Project expansion as an opportunity to strengthen our relationship with our customers,” co-owner Daisy Orser

250.598.8555 | marinarestaurant.com | 1327 Beach Drive at the Oak Bay Marina

explains. “It will give them a little treat to look forward to while they shop, or to bring something special home to their families.” Two visions, two great new expansions. JOSEPH BLAKE

Dynasty Seafood 108-777 WEST BROADWAY, VANCOUVER | 604-876-8388 | DYNASTY-RESTAURANT.CA

Vancouver is famous for its great Chinese restaurants, and Dynasty Seafood is a perennial award winner. In 2017, Vancouver magazine chose chef Sam Leung’s elegant dining room as not only Best Dim Sum and Best Chinese Restaurant, but the city’s Restaurant of the Year. Dynasty’s light, adventurous, Cantonese-inspired cuisine and extensive, well-curated wine list makes the large, stately room with views of the North Shore Mountains a perfect bridge between East and West. When we revisited Dynasty recently for dim sum, we feasted on dim sum chef Garley Leung’s deep-fried shrimp dumplings, steamed black truffle dumplings, barbecue pork pastry with lemon zest, garlic and chili-spiced green beans, whitefish-stuffed eggplant, pork and crab dumplings with spring onions and water chestnuts, shrimp spring rolls and egg tarts for dessert, all accompanied by many pots of jasmine tea. Dynasty’s dim sum menu is extensive. Vegetarians will love the array of delicious nonmeat dishes, and everything is beautifully made, especially these for these four different pastries shaped like rabbits, pumpkins, peanuts and flowers. Dynasty offers free parking for patrons in a lot below the restaurant off Broadway between Heather and Willow streets. Reservations are a must. When you’re visiting Vancouver, don't miss the chance to eat at this classic but daring restaurant. The experience is outstanding. Highest recommendation. JOSEPH BLAKE

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Windsor Café 2540 WINDSOR RD., OAK BAY | 778-440-2540 | WINDSORCAFEVICTORIA.CA

Soccer, rugby and cricket players, yoga enthusiasts, dog walkers and young parents using Oak Bay’s nearby Windsor Park are among the neighbours flocking to the Windsor Café since Jay and Quinn Forsythe renovated and reopened this airy, bright eatery in March. The husband and wife team managed Thai Lemongrass, the popular Cadboro Bay restaurant owned by Jay’s family. Now the couple have sold their home and invested in renovating the 1934, Tudor-style building. “I reupholstered all the chairs myself,” Quinn explains as he shows me two dozen seats in the upstairs dining room overlooking the park. Downstairs, another cozy dining room seats another dozen patrons and, like all the new café’s walls, features paintings by Quinn’s father, the late Canadian landscape painter Graham Forsythe. “The café’s benches, bar, tables and signage were all made from a huge cedar we salvaged from a forest fire,” Quinn continues. “You can still see the scorch marks on the edges of the lumber.” The couple are serving gourmet comfort food and creating a community hangout for breakfast, lunch, dinner or just a coffee or beer on the large, sunny patio behind the café and the smaller patio out front. “We’ve got Phillips and Hoyne on tap,” says Quinn, “and a list featuring B.C. wines, Mount Royal Bagels, Salt Spring mussels and Oughtred Coffee, to name just a few of our local sources." It seems like a winning formula for a neighbourhood café, one that will probably draw visitors beyond Oak Bay’s Tweed Curtain too. JOSEPH BLAKE REBECCA WELLMAN

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Stoked Wood Fired Pizzeria,

2908 TIEULIE PLACE, SHIRLEY, BC | 778-528-3473 | STOKEDWOODFIREDPIZZERIA.COM

The trio of chefs are focusing on local, coastally inspired pizza inside a cozy space centred around a wood-fired oven, just south of French Beach Provincial Park. Atop a concise menu is a pie worthy of its rustic locale. The Exotic

SCOTT CUNNINGHAM

Mushroom and Spinach pizza is light enough not to slow down the athletic west coast types, but possess big flavour sure to keep pizza purists engaged. Topped with an array of mushrooms, some foraged in the nearby stands of towering trees—the pizza is a delight and one I hope will remain on the menu. Along with bright, light salad options, Stoked offers Spicy Pepperoni, Margherita, and Italian Sausage pizzas. Pies can be ordered on gluten-free dough and vegan offerings are also on tap.

For surfers, still chilled to the bone after a frosty Sunday morning in the water, the drive back to civilization can often be desolate and lonely. But there’s a welcome new oasis for the road weary. Roughly 60 kilometres west of Victoria, down the rugged, twisting and ultimately beautiful Highway 14 is Stoked Wood Fired Pizzeria. Anchored by the smooth talking, Bronx, New York-based chef Jim Symington, his daughter Meagan Symington and her boyfriend Oliver Woods, Shirley’s latest offering to the culinary arena is something few can argue with and even fewer will be able to resist.

The warm interior is full of coastal character. Recycled wood accents, photos of breaking waves on canvas prints and carvings etched by the same hands that mold the pizza, Stoked beckons to the creative and hungry In a past life locals say the pizzeria’s location moonlighted as a post office and a general store, but predominately was a vacant or at least forgotten roadside stop. For years drivers would rush past a large sign with an ominous eagles head post on it. One of the predatory bird’s eyes had either fallen off or was so weather-beaten wasn’t visible. It remains unclear what the eagle had to do with a failed convenience store. The transformation into what exists today was no

small feat. After purchasing the restaurant owners say community support helped them manage the metamorphosis. That included small neighbourly favours to huge gestures including regional firefighters helping them safely install a weighty wood-fired oven. A tiny convenience store area still lines the back of the space stocked with camping essentials, snack and even locally made soaps. Along with warm helpings of comfort food, diners can also expect good conversation. Huge swaths of the island’s southwestern coast still remain in rare, but delightfully cellular-dead zones. Shirley is no exception. Dining in will mean harkening back to a presmartphone era. The addition of Stoked to Shirley’s dining roster is a big move, but it’s not alone on the culinary map. The sparsely populated region is punching far above its weight with Shirley Delicious, Point No Point Resort, Sheringham Distillery, Cold Shoulder Cafe and now the community pizza joint. Still in its fledgling stage, Stoked plans to extinguish its fire for the deep, dark and rain-soaked winter months from January 1 to sometime in April. Stoked is not your neighbourhood pizza parlour and because of its location it likely never will be. It’s tucked away in a far-off section of the south island down a winding and long highway, but know this: The pizza is worth the road less travelled. SCOTT CUNNINGHAM

Classically modern room. Locally sourced. With a French twist.

619 COURTNEY STREET, VICTORIA, BC TEL. 250 940 4090 THECOURTNEYROOM.COM

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EATING WELL FOR LESS

ELIZABETH MONK

PIZZA, TAPAS & TACOS Fernwood Pizza 2009 FERNWOOD RD., NEAR GLADSTONE AVE. | 778-430-4446

Embedded in community as well as cuisine, Fernwood Pizza’s story is as much about the space as it is about the food. Two years ago, the group that owns the Fernwood Inn bought the neighbouring space, once a post office in the early 1900s. The unassuming little structure is across the street from a heritage building with a now bricked-in archway that was once the terminus for the James Bay streetcar. This history is reflected in the décor. A large blackboard proclaims the restaurant’s motto: “A diverse community, united by pizza. This is the people’s pie. There’s a slice for everyone.” Historically, Fernwood has indeed been diverse and mixed income, and that diversity is reflected in the menu. The Artichoke Pizza is the top seller, possibly because of its price: $12 for a small, $16 for a medium, $21 for a large. It has a full mouth feel with lots of toppings in each bite, and the Macedonian feta is on the creamy and rich side of the feta spectrum. The Vittorio is practically a homage to the Whole Beast Butcher in Oak Bay and features their Tazzo ham (hot-smoked in cayenne and garlic) and cubes of their juicy pepperoni. Full fat mozzarella, roasted garlic and on-the-vine tomatoes round out the toppings. Even the more basic-sounding Super Cheese is interesting, a classic of mozzarella paired with Parmesan, goat cheese and the fruity creaminess of boerenkaas, an aged Dutch gouda. Sauces are available for dipping the crust or spreading on top of a pizza. This was a new concept for me, but I did indeed enjoy dunking my crust in the Parmesan roast garlic sauce. I added a Chop Chop salad for $6, a tasty mix of iceberg lettuce, olives, tomatoes and housemade Russian dressing. “A   d i v e r s e   c o m m u n i t y,   u n i t e d   b y   p i z z a ”

Artichoke Pizza with quartered artichoke hearts, fresh tomato, Kalamata olives, Macedonian feta,spinach, onion, roasted garlic

This new community gathering place is expanding even more. A patio is being finished in time for summer.

PHOTOS BY ELIZABETH NYLAND C O N T I N U E D O N PA G E 1 7

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Nubo Japanese Tapas

TEISHOKU LUNCH WITH ONE MAIN DISH ALONG WITH A NUMBER OF SIDE DISHES INCLUDING: GOMA-AE, 3 KINDS OF DAILY OKAZU, TEMPURA, MISO SOUP, AND FRUIT.

739 PANDORA AVE. VICTORIA | NUBOTAPAS.COM | 778-265-9909

As the name suggests, Nubo is famous for tapas, but let me direct your attention to the generous and elegant lunch menu for $15. What makes the meal stand out is the side dishes included with every main course. On the menu you will see the word “teishoku” instead of “lunch.” The word means a set meal with a number of side dishes, giving diners a chance to try six other Japanese foods other than the main dish.

There’s a big fun factor in tasting all the side dishes, but the mains impress as well. Considering the price and freshness, the Sashimi & Sushi lunch with five pieces of sashimi and three of nigiri was generous. A rice bowl simply named “Tofu” is topped with tofu

ELIZABETH NYLAND

Goma-ae, tempura and miso soup are always givens. “Goma” means “spinach” and “ae” means sauce. The day I went, the goma-ae was made with mustard greens rather than spinach, and the sesame sauce was light and refreshing. Three other side dishes vary from day to day and are called “okazu,” meaning side dish to accompany rice. These were all complex items: a piece of egg pancake; a salad of daikon, microgreens, steamed chicken and sesame dressing; and a fascinating croquette of pounded lotus root, ham and Parmesan.

fried until it is golden, drizzled with housemade teriyaki sauce and served atop onion, cabbage and broccoli seasoned with a light oyster sauce that complements the teriyaki. The ramen bowl is dramatically presented in an angular ceramic bowl—a delicate broth of pork marrow and miso, tender ramen noodles, an egg, fish cake, bean sprouts and seaweed. Keep an eye on dynamic chef and owner Shawn Lee. He has a sake bar opening soon and clearly plans to keep upping his food game in Victoria.

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EAT MAGAZINE SPECIAL | MAY 1 - 31, 2018

Taco Stand Al Pastor 1701 Douglas St. (The Hudson Market) | 778-432-4775

WHEN YOU PURCHASE TWO - 1 LB BAGS OF OUR AWARD WINNING COFFEE, MENTION THE WORD “EATMAGAZINE” AND RECIEVE A 15% DISCOUNT

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ELIZABETH NYLAND

ABOVE:

MARINATED PORK IS COOKED ON A VERTICAL ROTISSERIE

SPRING IS HERE! We love cooking with spring’s wild foods and fresh flavours from our farm friends. Come share a meal with the ones you love. 509 Fisgard Street, Victoria, BC | (250) 590-8795 www.olorestuarant.com

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Nothing is more fun than a meal matrix: should I choose pork, chicken, fish or, wait for it, cactus, and should my choice go in a taco, a bowl or a burrito? This is the joyous dilemma at Taco Stand Al Pastor in the Hudson Market. Let’s start with the namesake: an Al Pastor taco. Marinated pork is cooked slowly on a vertical rotisserie, shawarma-style with, dramatically, a pineapple propped on top so its juices flow into the meat. The corn taco here is served with a pineapple pico de gallo to intensify the flavour even more. The traditional Baja-style fish taco was so colourful it made me think of spring, with its soft greens of avocado and lime, and the pink of chipotle cream over golden cubes of fried white fish. The vegetarian Nopal taco is definitely exotic for these climes: crisp fried cheese and flame-grilled cactus, which tastes somewhat like asparagus but with deeper, grassy notes. (You may want to avoid eating it

in the company of witty spouses who will joke about how prickly you are.) A less messy, or should we say “tactile,” way to eat these mains is in a rice bowl, and you can also have them wrapped up tight in an eightinch burrito, which is how I enjoyed the pollo asado option. Moist, spicy chicken is seasoned with onions, garlic, cumin and ground ancho chilis and packed into a burrito with flavourful tomato rice, lettuce and salsa. Do not overlook the sexy sauces on the counter: the tart salsa verde, smooth chipotle crema and smoky house hot sauce. The jalapeño crema might be tucked away in a fridge so do ask for it if it’s not on the counter. The rice bowl and burrito are $12, tacos are $5 each, but during Happy Hour from 3 to 6 p.m., chicken and al pastor tacos are only $3. Tuesdays feature a taco special of three for the price of two.


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KEEP IT COLD KEEP IT LOCAL our fridge is always stocked with ice cold local ciders, wines & beers

919 Douglas St, Victoria

250.370.9463

www.strathliquor.com

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CHEFS

1 20 MAY/JUNE 2018

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3 5 C O N T I N U E D O N F O L L O W I N G PA G E

AN EXTENSION OF THE HAND: Chefs And Their Knives ADRIAN PARADIS Photography by Sherri Martin 21


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A

nyone who has worked in a kitchen will have no doubt heard the phrase “don’t touch my knife.� While knives are often referred to as an extension of the hand, touching someone else’s without permission is basically forbidden and

constitutes a gross personal abuse—I was once yelled at for placing a heavy iron pot simply too close (not touching, mind you) to another cook’s knife kit. While every industry has its tools, few tradespeople are as particular about their implements as chefs are about their knives. The level of care, attention and time put into these sharp implements borders on fanaticism. For professional chefs, knives can be a passion, hobby, pastime and necessity. But for at-home cooks, maintaining a knife can

INGREDIENT-DRIVEN DISHES, SOURCED AND FORAGED FROM TOFINO’S OCEANS, SHORELINE AND FORESTS

simply be a nuisance. What to buy, why so much fuss, and how to keep one sharp—while not cutting yourself— may seem like a mystery to some; however, these Victoria chefs have a few answers.

1

REBECCA TESKEY – CHEF AND OWNER AT FARM + FIELD BUTCHERS Teskey was a chef for 10 years before she got in to butchery, so her use of knives has changed slightly over the years. “We use quite a few dierent kinds of knives,â€? she says. “We have a long scimitar, a boning knife, a breaking knife, but generally we use knives with more stainless steel in them.â€?

Teskey says her favourite cooking knives are Masakage for their hard Japanese steel, but at her shop she mostly uses Swiss Victorinox, which has more stainless steel and results in a softer metal. “They’re not quite as hard as carbon steel, but we’re going against bone. They’re also cheaper—in a year, I’ll sharpen my knife down so much—and they don’t chip against bone.� Rather than a whetstone, Teskey is constantly using oilstones and electric grinders to keep her knives in order. Contrary to popular belief, keeping a knife sharp is actually much safer. “When a knife is dull, you have to push so much harder. Whatever you’re working with is more likely to rotate or turn away from your knife. Whereas if your knife is really sharp, it will just glide through.�

2

GABRIEL FAYERMAN-HANSEN – CHEF AT LITTLE JUMBO Like picking between his children, Fayerman-Hansen struggled before landing on his Masakage Zero made with Aogami Super Blue carbon as his favourite. “[The blade is] wrapped with 18-gauge stainless steel so it doesn’t rust as easily,� he says, “but the whole core is beautiful carbon.� The blade is pebbled, only 6 inches in length, and has a handle made from desert ironwood.

“My spirit animal is my sharpening stones,â€? he says. He uses a 1200-grit whetstone for sharpening, then an 8000 grit for polishing. “I like having a nice smoky whisky, listening to some blues and sharpening my knives every weekend. It’s relaxing for me.â€? To ďŹ nish, he hones the edge on a leather strop. “Back in the day, you would see someone sharpening a knife on their belt, but it’s just for removing burrs.â€? “It’s not the only thing that chefs get obsessed about,â€? he says. “Chefs by nature are super-

Breakfast 8am-Noon | Dinner 5:30pm to close Shared plates, family-style 7RŃŤQR5HVRUW0DULQD &DPSEHOO6WUHHWĎŽ   WRŃŤQRUHVRUWDQGPDULQDFRPNLWFKHQ 22

MAY/JUNE 2018

organized, particular and love control. This is just another level of control. It’s just a reection of yourself—how you treat your tools.�

3

JASON BIVALL – CHEF AT THE LIVET Jason Bivall says his favourite knife is a 10-inch Masashi kiritsuke (a Japanese-style chef’s knife). While he doesn’t have a regular schedule, he uses a 4000-grit whetstone to maintain and a ceramic steel sharpener that he uses day to day. “When you start ďŹ ghting the food, it’s time


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to hit the stone,” he says. There is a strong focus on Japanese steel in the world of chef knives today. Asking Bivall about this, he says it comes down to a level of quality. “Better knives and better steel. I think they are also more interesting knives. They have more interesting shapes, and you get a lot more Damascus steel in Japanese knives.” (Damascus steel, also known as pattern-welded steel, is made by hammer-welding strips of steel and iron, which results in a wavy surface pattern.) While he stresses that every knife will need to be maintained, he suggests investing in a slightly higher quality to save time and effort in the long run. “Buy a knife that fits your hand and feels natural. If you buy a knife with good steel, it will stay sharper longer. For chefs, it’s all about time. You want to spend the least amount of time to keep your knives as sharp as possible.”

4

NICK HOPKINS – CHEF AT THE OAKS RESTAURANT Hopkins, also a fan of Japanese steel, says he started buying $4.99 Kom Kom nakiris (a short, Japanese-style vegetable knife) in bulk about 15 years ago. Today, his favourite knife is a Moritaka Chinese-style cleaver also made from Aogami Super Blue steel. The blade is so wide it’s almost square in shape and is finished with a kurouchi (or dark, rustic,

blacksmith finish). “I’m a firearms enthusiast, but this knife scares me more than anything else,” he says. “It’s stupid and I love it. I use it for everything you shouldn’t use a cleaver for.” Hopkins’ advice for at-home cooks is to invest in knife covers. “Don’t just throw them in a drawer,” he says. “Best two dollars you can spend is on a knife cover. I used to just use duct tape and cardboard, but these really changed how damaged my blades got.” He says the greatest difference a quality knife makes is not in how you cook, but how you feel about your cooking. “You don’t actually cook better,” he says, “but you can cook without struggling, without mushing tomatoes, make it look like it does on TV.”

5

JOHN WALLER – CHEF AT THE MARINA RESTAURANT Like many chefs today, Waller started out using brands such as Wüsthof or Henckel but turned to Japanese steel with the rising popularity of Global and Shun knives. His favourite today is a 10-inch French-style Miyabi. “It’s not outrageously expensive,” he says, “but it is an investment, and that’s what’s good about it. If you have to invest in something, you’re going to take care of it. I use it all day every day

and I love it.” As far as his maintenance goes, he says he has an advantage working next to the sushi bar of the Marina Restaurant. He goes to them for tips on sharpening. Even though he has way more knives than he needs, his advice for those starting out is to focus on just two knives and keep them well maintained. “Honestly, if you think about what knives I’m actually using, I use a French knife, a paring knife, and that’s about it. I really only need two knives, so why do I have 40?”

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THE KEY TO SNAGGING A TABLE From high tech to low tech to no tech. TEXT: CINDA CHAVICH

D

ining out is the new theatre, and getting a seat at a top restaurant is getting as difficult as scoring a ticket for a sold-out concert.

Food lovers flock to the latest and greatest, and with so much demand, many hot spots have adopted “no reservation” policies, forcing diners to queue up for a chance to dine. It’s become a popular sport for Victoria’s breakfast crowd, where casual spots like Jam and The Blue Fox routinely have line-ups snaking down the street. And with a trend to more casual dining and small restaurants that fill up fast, you may find yourself queuing up for your supper more often. “We had been open for eight years when we switched to no reservations,” says Marc Morrison, co-owner of Brasserie L’Ecole, where lining up for their famous steak frites has become a de rigueur dining tradition in Victoria. If you want a table at the buzzy, 40-seat brasserie, you’ll have to get in line before the restaurant opens at 5:30 or show up after 9 and take your chances. It’s entirely egalitarian, says Morrison—no one gets preferential treatment. “I understand people want to secure a table for a special occasion,” he says, adding customers have pressured him to return to a blend of reservations and walk-ins. “But if I did half-andhalf, it’s too easy to bend the rules, and that doesn’t make sense.” For Brasserie L’Ecole, dumping the reservation tradition was a financial decision. Even if the restaurant was fully booked, most reservations were around the most popular dining times, leaving tables empty for earlier or later seatings. Today, with customers lining up to secure a seat, the restaurant is usually filled throughout the evening. It’s an idea that’s taken hold in Vancouver as well, whether you’re standing in line at Vij’s, Café Medina or Bao Bei. Though it’s inconvenient for customers, it works for popular restaurants. “By not taking reservations, we got 40 percent more people in the door,” Morrison says, explaining that his customers arrive early to get on the list, then slip off to a nearby bar or pub, to be notified with a call or text when a table opens up. “Yes, it’s

ILLUSTRATION:BENOIT TARDIF

generally a younger crowd now, but I honestly think we get better customers.” And while younger customers may be willing to wait, they may also be the source of another problem dogging restaurants today—no-shows—the growing number of diners who book tables at several spots, then blow off their reservations without calling to cancel.

ONLINE ANONYMITY Reservation apps like Open Table, Bookenda and Yelp’s Seatme make it easy to discover popular new restaurants, peruse the menus and instantly book a table from the anonymous comfort of your computer or cellphone. But there’s a downside to all of this convenience. Online systems cost restaurants money, from start-up costs to monthly fees and charges for every booking made. And noshows can leave restaurants scrambling to fill seats, making the difference between registering a profit and ringing up a loss. “We did use Open Table originally, but it was becoming quite expensive,” says Brianna Stewart, general manager of Olo, where diners can reserve a table using the Seatme widget on the restaurant’s website. In its first iteration—Ulla—the restaurant used the traditional “pencil and paper reservation book,” she adds, but online booking is easy. “It’s convenient, especially for out-of-towners. Everyone gets a text message reminder or email the day before, and we know who’s coming,” says Stewart. It’s frustrating when diners book and don’t show up, she says, “but for us that’s just part of doing business.” “Part of the problem is that making a reservation online, there’s no face or no voice, so it’s easier to just not show up,” she adds. “But I do call people when they don’t arrive, partly just to make sure we had the right time for their table, but also to give them a nudge and remind them that we’re humans here, too.”

TURNING THE TABLES Frustrated restaurateurs are finding new ways to turn the tables on this reservation conundrum. Some take your credit card information when you book and, like hotels or dentists, charge a fee for a missed appointment. The Resy app puts the cost of booking on the customer—they’ll get you a great table at a top restaurant for a fee, a sort of virtual tipping of the maître d’ at the door. Tock is a new restaurant reservation system that allows restaurants to charge diners upfront, literally a ticket to dine. It was the annual Dine Around event in Vancouver that finally pushed Jefferson Alvarez, the chef/owner at popular Cacao restaurant in Kitsilano, to sign up for the prepaid Tock system. Diners pay $20 (or up to $50) per person to book a table, or buy his $85 tasting menu in advance. Alvarez says he rolled out the system this year for Valentine’s Day and had a full house, with no cancellations or no-shows.

FOOD LOVERS FLOCK TO THE LATEST AND GREATEST, AND WITH SO MUCH DEMAND, MANY HOT SPOTS HAVE ADOPTED “NO RESERVATION” POLICIES, FORCING DINERS TO QUEUE UP FOR A CHANCE TO DINE. 25


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“It works well. Everyone shows up when they have paid to secure a seat,” he says. “We are a fresh, no-waste restaurant, and this is the best way to know exactly how many people will come.” The Tock reservation fee is deducted from the bill when you dine. There’s no refund if you cancel, but the restaurant will help you reschedule your dinner. No-shows forfeit their deposit. Alvarez says many customers appreciate the opportunity to prepay for a tasting menu when entertaining clients, family or friends. “It’s a great guest experience. No bill comes to the table, everything is taken care of in advance,” he says. Alvarez says the system protects profits in an era of high rents, rising food costs and tight margins. “I’m just 25 seats – if two tables of six don’t show up, it’s half of my business,” he says. It’s unclear whether Victoria diners are ready to pay for their table, or meal, in advance. In Victoria, Nourish Kitchen & Café has signed on with Tock but skips the reservation fee for regular dining. “We do a lot of private events and workshops, and Tock has a system for selling tickets which works for us,” says Nourish manager Suzie Brett. “We don’t charge a booking fee—restaurants can opt out—it doesn’t even show up for our guests.”

OLD SCHOOL, NEW SCHOOL Though a handful of restaurants across Canada have joined Alvarez in the prepaid Tock booking system, and popular places like Pagliacci’s remain first-come, first-served, most Victoria restaurants contacted say their clientele expects to book a table in advance.

THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT When you book a table at a restaurant, you’re entering into a mutually beneficial contract—a promise that you will show up at a predetermined time to dine, and that the proprietor will have a table waiting for you when you do. It’s a simple arrangement, one that works well when both parties have the good sense (and basic manners) to honour their bit of the bargain. Basic restaurant etiquette will improve everyone’s dining experience: Arrive on Time Sounds like a simple request, but make sure you arrive for your restaurant reservation promptly and, if you’re running late, call the restaurant. Most will hold your table for 15 minutes—after that you may be out of luck and logged as a no-show. Don’t Book Multiples Imagine how miffed you’d be if you planned dinner for friends and they decided at the last minute to eat somewhere else. Remember, restaurants plan their food orders and staffing based on their reservations, and when you blow off a booking, it hurts their bottom line. No-shows are logged on booking apps like

OpenTable, which will deactivate your account after four offences in 12 months. Timely Cancellations If you can’t make your reservation, cancel online or call the restaurant directly. You can cancel the day of, but it’s much easier for the restaurant to regroup and fill your table if you give them advance notice of at least 24 hours. Some restaurants charge fees for late cancellations and no-shows. Consider the Costs Many restaurants will allow you to bring a favourite wine (even a special birthday cake) to dinner, but will charge you a corkage (or cakeage) fee to serve it. It only makes sense—when you order their wines and desserts, those costs are built in. Don’t expect a free ride. Use Online Apps to Book, Not Bitch It’s easy to bang off an anonymous review or complaint online, but restaurateurs and chefs would rather hear from you at the table, to rectify any issues immediately. If you have a problem with food or service, politely speak up, don’t rant online.

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“Locals like to make reservations, and the owners of Olo made a conscious decision to keep the reservation system,” says Stewart. If the trend of diners making multiple reservations and deciding where to eat at the last minute continues, Stewart says more restaurants may “get fed up” and turn to other options. “But I don’t think Victoria will be at the forefront,” she says. “I like to be able to make a reservation as a customer, and as a manager, I prefer having reservations.” Since opening their first 30-seat restaurant in 1999, chef Peter Zambri and his sister Jo Zambri have run the business together, he in the back of the house, she in the front. Guests can call or reserve a table online, a service their customers expect, she says. “We were so small, it was easy to manage, but we started with OpenTable when we expanded to our current location six years ago,” says Zambri. “Now most of our reservations are done online.” For the Zambris, OpenTable is a tool that makes booking easy for customers and offers marketing support, statistical information and important feedback to the business. They can make notes on a diner’s file to keep track of preferences, allergies and birthdays, and personalize the dining experience. The app sends guests a reminder the day before their reservation, but restaurants must notify OpenTable about cancellations and no-shows, or be charged for the booking. And even with the popularity of online booking, you can always call restaurants directly. In

fact, at Café Brio, that phone call is the only way to reserve a table for dinner. “There are a million of these online apps, and none of them actually involve speaking to your customers,” says owner Greg Hayes, a longtime Victoria restaurateur who’s known for his friendly hospitality. Even though Café Brio is a large, busy restaurant, Hayes will often greet you at the door and answer the phone when you call. “Online services like OpenTable take a lot of money, and take control away,” he says. “I want to talk to my guests. It’s part of the personal service and part of the experience.” With a 1-800 number, Hayes makes it easy for out-of-town visitors to book or cancel with ease. “It doesn’t take long to call, and before you even get here, we’re almost friends,” he says. Diners who don’t arrive on time for reservations, or simply fail to show up, are a constant frustration for Hayes. It’s “fraudulent” to book at more than one restaurant, with no intention of fulfilling your commitment, he says, and costs his restaurant “between $5,000 and $10,000 a year out of pocket.” Still, after more than 20 years welcoming guests to Café Brio, Hayes and his wife Silvia Marcolini are the ultimate hosts. Inducted into the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association Hall of Fame in 2014 for their 35+ years in the industry, they are the charming face of Café Brio. “We love what we do and it shows,” he says. “It’s a fun experience from the moment you call.”

LAMENT FOR A RESTAURANT And a positive nod to the future for former Relish chef Jamie Cummins.

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STORY BY ADRIAN PARADIS any Victorians will already be acquainted with the work of Jamie Cummins. Some may know him from his time at the Sooke Harbour House and Discovery Coffee, or with his band, The Tin Sea—he plays piano and accordion. Most, however, will know him from his former Relish Food and Coffee, which closed in December 2017.

M

The day I met with Cummins, I had shuddered at the thought of talking in the shell of the vacant Relish location: a loss that was both unexpected and still fresh in my mind. Remembering the warm brick walls, high ceilings and natural lighting spilling onto rows of preserves and pastries would be upsetting. I was spared this trauma by meeting him in the Victoria Public Market. Sitting instead on flimsy metal stools, we talked about Relish’s history and Cummins’ future.

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Cummins started Relish in 2010 to great acclamation, but he had been well acquainted with the C O N T I N U E D O N F O L L O W I N G PA G E

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Victoria restaurant scene before this. He had always enjoyed cooking at home, he says, and while in his mid-20s, and working as a musician, he looked for a career that allowed for a similar freedom. “There’s creative thinking, being spontaneous, improvising and working with a group of people,” he says on the similarities between cooking and music. “You get to know how people work, and how they play.” Working his way around town, he cooked at Mo:Lé and Rebar before going to study at the Northwest Culinary Academy in Vancouver. Returning to the island, he stayed for a few years at the Sooke Harbour House, then went on to work at Paprika.

workers took up the street parking around him. “I lost quite a few parking spaces and it made it harder for people to come. Relish was a destination. There was no parking lot or parkade near it.” Seeing his business degrading, Cummins had conversations with his staff about how he might need to close in the near future. Understandably, this made it hard to hold on to the staff he had, which only exacerbated his situation. “I ran the kitchen by myself with just one front staff for a few days in December,” he says. “I have a family and a three-year-old daughter. I needed to make a good decision, but it wasn’t the way I wanted things to happen.”

For those who missed Relish in its heyday, it was a restaurant that was, by Cummins’ own admission, a little outside the norm. “When I opened Relish in 2010,” he says, “there were only a couple other restaurants trying to do what I was doing. There was Devour, which had a chalkboard menu that was seasonal and interesting, but it was hard to define what I was doing.” On the outside, Relish appeared to be another in a long list of Victoria brunch joints. But in its on the inside, there was something that set Relish apart. Nearly everything—bacon, sausage, preserves, pastries— was made painstakingly in-house. Diners at Relish could enjoy bacon and eggs, made to perfection, as well as a variety of more adventurous brunch options such as congee, kimchi meatballs and smoked crispy chicken thighs. Specials would change often (sometimes daily), and almost everything was seasonal and local. “I really care about where food comes from,” says Cummins. “I always work seasonally, just naturally, because I try to incorporate as much organic and local produce as I can within my price restrictions.” According to Cummins, the decline of Relish began with an increase in construction downtown. “It [Pandora at Quadra] was always a challenging location,” he says. “I don’t want to harp on bike lanes, but they put a bus stop right in front of the restaurant where people used to park, which was super-important to the clientele.” Cummins stressed he was not bitter about the way things ended, but it was an unfortunate turn of events. Losing the precious few parking spots outside the restaurant came with a marked decrease in his sales. His takeout orders instantly became nonexistent as construction and office

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Despite his situation, Cummins is not outwardly broken up about the closure of Relish. “Things needed to change for me anyways. I was open seven and a half years and I was starting to think about what to do next,” he says. “I’m looking forward to the possibilities.” Today, Relish still exists, though in a more ephemeral form. Cummins is now cooking at The Kitchen by Accio, a meal delivery company and many of Relish’s most loved dishes—kimchi meatballs, crispy smoked chicken and Chinese sausage fried rice—are now available through Accio. Having a scaled-down menu means Cummins has more time to experiment with new dishes. “I’m excited because I’ll be freed up and not doing so many things. I’ll be able to be creative again and start coming up with new ideas.” Looking back, Cummins says if he could do it again, he would have made Relish with simplicity in mind. While there’s something to be said about the creative freedom to make everything in-house, it’s extremely labour-intensive and difficult to train staff. “It’s a business of passion, more than an enterprise of making money,” he says. “Whoever is running it has to love it and be willing to put in that effort. You can’t walk away from it. I’d go home for a few hours and then come back to the restaurant and do errands and finish things off.” Looking to the future, he says he’s enjoying time with his family, and his new position. “I’m not trying to think about a new location for now. I could easily come up with some stupid ideas about a restaurant I could open up, but I’m just going to take it easy for a while and spend some time with my family—not freak my wife out with some stupid new idea where I will disappear for 16 hours a day.”


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HOW TO COOK

1 ORGANIZE THE INGREDIENTS SO THEY’RE READY WHEN YOU NEED THEM.

2 ROAST THE ASPARAGUS & PROSCIUTTO BUNDLES IN THE OVEN.

3 TO SERVE: GRATE PARMESAN AND SPRINKLE WITH CHOPPED BASIL AND FRESH HERBS

PROSCIUTTO-WRAPPED ROASTED ASPARAGUS WITH PARMESAN AND HERBS Recipe, styling and photography by Lindsey Eden You know spring has sprung when you start to see fresh local asparagus bundles at the farmer’s markets. The asparagus season is a short one so I tend to gather up as many bundles as I can while they’re available. Baked into tarts and quiches or simply steamed, roasted or sautéed, asparagus is a wildly versatile vegetable that doesn’t need much to shine. This recipe showcases these lovely green stalks in the most uncomplicated but delicious of ways. Because of its simplicity, the most important part of this recipe is really good ingredients. Splurge on the butcher prosciutto, well-aged Parmesan and fresh local herbs. Serve as is, accompanying a main dish or my favourite way, topped with a soft poached egg for a quick and healthy breakfast option. 1 pound asparagus

around them, securing with a toothpick. Repeat with the rest of the asparagus

6 slices of prosciutto

and prosciutto.

Parmesan shavings

Step Two: Place the asparagus bundles on a parchment-lined baking sheet,

Fresh basil and flat-leaf parsley

drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt and black pepper.

Sea salt and black pepper

Roast for 25 minutes, or until the asparagus is tender and the prosciutto

Olive oil

browned.

Lemon

Step Three: Serve immediately with coarsely chopped fresh herbs, Parmesan

Step One: Preheat the oven to 400°F.

shavings and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Add a soft poached egg on top for a nu-

Break or cut off the bottom third of the asparagus stalks.

tritious hit of protein.

Gather 6-8 stalks (depending how thick they are) and wrap the prosciutto

Inspired by Mimi Thorisson, A Kitchen in France

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GROWTH INDUSTRY A Victoria urban agriculture startup defies the industrial food complex. story by Daniel Murphy illustration by Lovatto

Chris Hildreth

f you hang a right on Harbour Road, just past the eternal reconstruction of the Johnson Street bridge, past the white-wrapped ghost ships in Point Hope’s dry dock, and the tables of the silver-haired, latté-sipping Lycra Set at Fantastico, then you’ll see them: dozens and dozens of fabric baskets full of rich, dark earth and bolting slivers of greenery. That’s the operating headquarters of Topsoil Innovative Urban Agriculture. It’s the brainchild and labour of love for Chris Hildreth—the culmination of over three years of hard work and a burning drive to marry sustainability and profitability in a scalable, replicable and (above all) meaningful, way.

I

It began at university as a response to the repeated, confoundingly obvious evidence that humans are polluting themselves out of a livable habitat. That led Hildreth to start studying renewable energies and to become “obsessed with fossil fuels.” But during his environmental studies/sociology classes at UVic, he noticed that “food was a common theme … a root problem but also a solution as well.” 30 MAY/JUNE 2018


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EAT SPONSORED FEATURE

In particular, the problems that caught his interest were all tied to the industrialized food systems that seemed so logical during the post-WWII era of economic uptick in America. Then, it made perfect sense to centralize farming into vast plots, for either crops or livestock, to mechanize harvesting and processing as much as possible, and create a dense web of distribution channels. Terms like monoculture weren’t in the popular lexicon. The negative effects of pesticides and fertilizers hadn’t been fully explored (or made public.) The idea of a “carbon footprint” was not on the radar. Despite a contemporary awareness of these issues, by the time today’s produce arrives at a distant destination, it is a shell of its former freshness, lacking in texture and nutrients. Our response has been more “innovation,” this time in food processing, extending food’s longevity at the expense of its nutritional value. Although this archaic food production model “made perfect sense in that era, under those circumstances,” Hildreth sees an opportunity for a healthier alternative in both business and personal terms. “For most of human history, people have grown and eaten food in their own living space,” a practice we’ve only strayed from in less than a century. Even a few years ago, while Topsoil was still a stew of ideas, he sensed a growing shift in the

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collective consciousness to reconnect with the sources of our food; to ignore the pervasive “disposable culture” we’ve created; to take responsibility for the origins of the items we consume, rather than trusting large conglomerates to prioritize our health interests over the bottom line. After doing some digging, [the puns just keep on coming!], Chris found kindred startups that were also tackling the Goliath of ‘Big Food:’ Montreal-based LUFA is an ongoing model of admiration, and the spirit of their mission was a great inspiration. But the biggest hurdle for Chris in providing Victoria with any kind of functional business model, and giving it appeal for consumers, was the glaring fact that “sustainability is not convenient.” Whether it’s costlier, harder to gain access to or involves time and sweat to “grow-your-own,” acquiring grassroots farming produce is simply not as easy as it is from mass growers with established distribution channels. Hildreth knew from the outset that this had to change: “We couldn’t make a good choice more difficult.” But all the positive ideologies in the world aren’t enough to execute a functional, profitable business. It was time to get to work on the logistics and feasibility. The Topsoil endeavour began as an attempt to harness the wasted food-growth potential of rooftops in urban areas. Gazing through a window at a swath of wasted roof-space during a social studies lecture, the plan for Hildreth’s pilot project took shape. The next two years were a steep learning curve. Once actual logistics such as drainage and wind protection had been dealt with, plants began growing. The system was working. Then an unforeseen visit from city representatives yielded some interesting news: “Commercial urban agriculture was not zoned in the City of Victoria. You could grow, but you couldn’t sell.” But City Hall was surprisingly ahead of the curve in their interest in Hildreth’s endeavour. “I was invited to talk with city council, and four days later I was informed that Topsoil could move forward.” In fact, the entire city was rezoned to allow “Urban-Ag,” along with cutting a ton of the bureaucracy and associated fees. Despite the city’s empowerment, the scalability of the rooftop model proved impossible, meaning that while it may have worked on a private level, the business potential simply wasn’t there. Hildreth was forced to adapt his model to a more manageable, ground level platform. After leaving the roof of the building now inhabited by The Livet, Hildreth came into contact with the ownership group of the Dockside Green development, between Harbour and Tyee roads. The environmental aspirations of both endeavours were so closely aligned, it was a natural fit. Which is where you can

Park’s Kitchen Launches New Menu SOMETHING NEW AND EXCITING IS HAPPENING IN TROUNCE ALLEY. Chef Seongbea Park is celebrating his Korean culinary roots. Park opened Sushi Island across from Hillside Mall in 2013 and Park's Kitchen in Trounce Alley in October 2015. Before that, he worked for five years in several Vancouver kitchens, and before moving to Canada, Park majored in economics at a university in Seoul and worked in his family's restaurant where he learned to make noodles and traditional Korean sauces. Park's Kitchen features many Korean specialities in addition to a wide-ranging menu of sushi rolls and cones, sashimi, donburi, tempura, bento box combos and noodle dishes. The 40-yearold chef and owner and his wife and business partner, Christina are now accentuating their Korean culinary roots at Park's Kitchen, launching a new menu with several bargain-priced Korean dishes during the restaurant's 11 a.m.-3 p.m. lunch service. When I visited recently, I joined Christina at one of the restaurant tables and like all their guests were offered a complimentary cup of rice and green leaf tea. The 65-seat restaurant's booths are made more private with decorative wall screens, and the largest room includes a 10-seat banquet table and a flat-screen television in the back wall. Chef Park and his staff are visible working behind a half-wall that runs almost the length of one side of Park's Kitchen. There are also nearly a dozen seats at tables on the patio's wooden platform in Trounce Alley. "Would you like to try our most popular dish?" Christina asked as I perused the restaurant's extensive menu. "Canadian people like our Korean Barbecue Grill. You can choose chicken, pork, beef or squid, and you can choose the spice level from mild or hot to scorching hot produced with Korean Cheongyang chili peppers. You can also have traditional Korean Fried Rice, Ramen or Udon noodles, which comes on a big pan that encircles the dish with cheese and corn. It's big enough for two," Christina added. "Maybe you should try the Farmers Meal. It's similar but smaller with steamed rice and vegetables, and you can choose between soy-based Bulgogi or spiced-based Jeyuk... but I think you should try Chef Park's Osaka-style, flame-seared, and pressed Oshi Sushi. It melts in your mouth. I love the salmon and the spiced tuna." I chose the Oshi, and Christina ushered me into the kitchen to watch Chef Park torch several pieces of tuna that had been pressed into beds of rice and garnished with a homemade sauce, topped with slices of mild peppers and lotus root. It was delicious, and unlike any sushi dish, I'd ever eaten. I'll come back to Park's Kitchen to try it again and to sample the new lunch specials like Spicy Pork and Spicy Chicken Fried Ramen, as well as Korean-style Hot Stone Bowl and Kimchi Hot Pot. I've got lots of adventurous eating to do in Trounce Alley. —Joesph Blake Park's Kitchen, 606 Trounce Alley 778-265-2227 Monday.-Saturday. 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday 11:30 a.m;-9 p.m.

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find Topsoil at its current location, moving into its fourth growing season.

logistical reality coming to terms with the entrepreneurial spirit; a “yes we can”

It’s somewhat of a tease that the locally grown crops aren’t available to individual

versus “that’s preposterous” internal tug-of-war. But the “preposterous” idea might

consumers, but Hildreth has yet to find a way to support a business-to-consumer

be gaining the upper hand. The future model for Topsoil has evolved into a replicable,

model, without costs escalating well beyond profitability. For now, to sample Top-

all-inclusive “farm-in-a-box” product, transplantable to anywhere with a vacant lot

soil’s produce, head to one of their four clients’ restaurants: Fiamo, Canoe Brewpub,

and a couple of able bodies. Minus the soil, the entire setup is able to fit within an

Fantastico Bar-Deli, and Lure. Orders placed by these kitchens are harvested on

eight-square-foot shipping container. He has spent immense attention on creating

demand and delivered directly to the restaurant (via bicycle) that day—no refrigera-

the “systems, charts and financials. The end product will be an instruction manual to

tion, no emissions during transit. These chefs also have the luxury of influencing

avoid all the B.S. I’ve been through for the past three years!” Just add human-power:

which crops Topsoil grows, as Hildreth strives to maximize the benefits for all parties

Topsoil currently employs two full-time, and one part-time urban farmers.

involved. “We have season-end discussions with our chefs, so we know what worked,

The market appeal of this readily deployable food-source model is hard to argue with.

quantity and sales-wise. Because I think that pretty much every chef wants a garden,

Not to mention the fact that it must, by its very nature, be easily transportable – the

it’s just a matter of not having the time, or space.”

Dockside Green space will eventually be reclaimed whenever the next phase of its

So, which varieties are working in our local kitchens? “Well, we started with way too

development gets underway. But this could also be a blessing for potential growth, as

many crops: 32. In our second year we cut it to 13. Now we’re down to 10.” Among the

the site cannot currently contain any structures (such as greenhouses), limiting its

initial crops that have since been shelved were carrots, potatoes, eggplants and beets.

usage in the winter to the point that it’s more effective financially to shutter opera-

Now higher volume, faster turnaround crops are the focus: arugula, kale, radishes,

tions. On a global scale, the impact this portable farm could have on downtrodden

chard, turnips, cucumbers, summer squash, a salad blend, basil and mint. Despite the

urban areas, or cities rebuilding after devastating natural events, is highly intriguing.

3,000 geotextile containers, on their 20,000-square-foot plot, Topsoil produces as

Chris Hildreth ponders all this and more, as he plants each tiny seedling, and watches

much volume of goods in an entire year’s output as one of the major food distributors

them become something bigger and even more meaningful than healthy, conscien-

can ship in a morning. That’s the extent of the deficit; that’s the room for opportunity.

tiously grown, negative-carbon-footprint meals, produced specifically for Victorians.

But the growth model that Hildreth has in mind is not simply an expansion of their

Topsoil’s potential for growth is limitless, and although he had to work hard to find it,

current grounds, or an increase in productivity.

the venue for its success was right in front of us the whole time.

“Can we take over the Canadian market?” These are the spitball ambitions that float around in Hildreth’s head from time to time. You can see the wheels turning: the

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REPORTER

FISHING FOR CHIPS Exploring some of Victoria’s best chippers. story by ADRIEN SALA photography by SHERRI MARTIN

DAVE HIGGINS, WILLOW'S GALLEY, JANUARY 2018

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P

erhaps more than any other battered meal, the flouredand-fried combo of fish and chips has enjoyed a surprisingly rich history. In fact, there are some who consider the dish, often relegated to Sunday afternoons and occasional family excursions, one of the first instances of true culinary fusion. As far back as the 1860s, a Londoner named Joseph Malin began offering fish “in the Jewish style” alongside fried potatoes, otherwise known as “potatoes in the English style”—a.k.a. chips— which were exceedingly common at the time. While Malin arguably holds the honourable position in history as the world’s first chippy, he definitely wasn’t the last. By the 1930s, the UK was run wild with fish and chip shops, around 35,000 of them by some estimates. Alfred Hitchcock famously grew up above his family’s “chipper” (which may explain his physique), and the meal was a staple of working class families during his formative years. Whether you’re a fried fish fan or not, there’s no denying that Victoria was crafted on British design. From our street names to the commanding Empress hotel, we’ve borrowed from the Brits, and part of that influence is the abundance of dedicated fish and chip restaurants throughout the city. A far cry from the chippers of England’s interwar period, which were known for rarely changing the fry oil and serving the meal in newspaper to soak up the stenchy grease, shops in and around Victoria have high food standards and quality ingredients. But they still maintain some of history and charm of the original shops. A few still wrap the meal in newsprint, with a layer of clean wax paper on the inside of course, while others have faux newsprint to keep the dream alive. It’s a simple meal with few ingredients, but something that is still easy to mess up if you stray too far from the traditional formula. On a recent weekend, I explored some of the more popular chippers in town still making classic fish and chips. While it has to be said that multiple meals of fish in the Jewish style with potatoes in the English style in a single day is not something any sane human should attempt, it shouldn’t stop you from enjoying them one by one—on different days. Each has its own style, tartar and coleslaw, but fundamentally they’re all riffing off the original chippers of a century and a half ago, a culinary time machine with way less risk of coal dust in the batter.

Willows Galley Fish and Chips |2559 Estevan Ave. (11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday to Saturday; noon to 7 p.m., Sunday; closed Monday and Tuesday) Just up from Willows Beach at the waterside end of Estevan Village, “The Galley” has been a staple of fish and chip fans for years. The shop is tiny on the inside, which adds to its charm. Fish and chips isn’t a white tablecloth kind of meal. It’s meant to be eaten outside on picnic tables, or carried a few minutes up the road to a park bench by the water, both of which are options here. A First Mate’s Plate consisting of a single piece of cod with a mountain of chips, tartar and fresh slaw, and all the malt vinegar you can handle, will run you $12.50. There are a lot of combos to choose from, including upgrading to halibut or departing completely and having a corndog. It’s a great place to duck into before a nap on the beach. C O N T I N U E D O N F O L L O W I N G PA G E

ABOVE: WILLOWS GALLEY FISH & CHIPS BELOW: JACK CHEN CARRYING FISH& CHIP PLATE AT HAULTAIN FISH & CHIPS,

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“SOMETIMES YOU WANT TO BE STANDING ON A DOCK OVER THE WATER WHEN YOU SCARF DOWN A CLASSIC FISH AND CHIPS.” Haultain Fish and Chips |1127 Haultain St. (11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday; closed Sunday and Monday) You’ve probably driven by here and wondered if it was still serving fish and chips. Well, good news—they are. And it’s great. Reminiscent of an old drive-in with angled parking out front on a quiet street just off Cook, Haultain Fish and Chips has a takeout or eat-in menu. For takeout, it’s worth having a look at designing your own meal. A single piece of cod will run you $8.00 and you can add chips for $4.25. Eatin options come with slaw and fries, and there are additional items like halibut burgers and … unusual for a chipper…perogies.

Barb’s Fish and Chips | 1 Dallas Rd. (Fisherman’s Wharf ) (11 a.m. to 8 p.m., every day) Sometimes you want to be standing on a dock over the water when you scarf down a classic fish and chips. Barb’s location allows for this basic instinct. Admittedly nestled smack dab in the centre of touristville on Fisherman’s

36 MAY/JUNE 2018

Wharf, Barb’s is definitely worth making the effort (use some of your local savvy and avoid the peak cruise ship windows and you’ll be fine). An institution amongst chippers in the city, Barb’s offers a single-piece cod option for $10.95 (as of the end of 2017) and other more West Coasty selections like sockeye. It’s a fun excursion and it’s close to Finest at Sea, where you can pick up some of your own fresh fish for attempting a homemade dinner of fish and chips.

Red Fish, Blue Fish | 1006 Wharf St. at Broughton (down on the dock) (Open as of mid-March; check website for hours: www.redfish-bluefish.com) OK, so not technically a chipper, but Red Fish, Blue Fish is still a popular place to pick up a plate of perfectly prepared fish and chips. Famous for being housed in an old shipping container on the dock along the water under Wharf Street, Red Fish, Blue Fish serves up tempura-battered cod with Kennebec fries and slaw for a reasonable 11 bucks. Everything here is compostable and can be consumed along the

water’s edge. Fair warning: be prepared for long lines in the summer and fearless seagulls waiting for an opportunity to snag some of your cod—well worth the battle for sure.

Brady’s Fish and Chips | 50 Burnside Rd. W. (11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday; noon to 7 p.m., Sunday) Just a short drive from the downtown core, Brady’s has probably the most diverse menu of all the chippers in town, everything from popcorn scallops and chicken burgers to the classic fish and chip meals. A single-piece cod meal with slaw and chips runs $11.50. Tuesdays are especially good here, with take-out promotions that include $5 cod. Add some chips and maybe some popcorn shrimp (also on the menu) and you’ve got yourself a nice little meal. Important note: Fairfield Fish and Chips |1275 Fairfield Rd. Sadly, Fairfield Fish and Chips closed its doors earlier this year. A favourite of many, it will be missed.


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GOOD FOR YOU

PAM DURKIN

THE LOWDOWN ON PROTEIN Sure, protein is vital, but don’t skip those carbs. IN AN EFFORT TO GET “BEACH-BODY” READY, many people start tweaking their diets in the spring, often opting for the high-protein approach. They certainly have a plethora of regimes to choose from—Whole30, Paleo and the Dukan Diet are just some of the proteinheavy, low-carbohydrate diet plans trending on social media. Proponents of these diets cite high-protein intake as the key to sculpting a lean physique, increasing energy and enhancing health whilst they demonize carbohydrates as the culprit in weight gain and more. Are they right? For the answer, let’s take a closer look at this vital macronutrient. Protein is the second most plentiful substance in our bodies—after water—and constitutes roughly one-fifth of our weight. In fact, proteins are the major constituents of every living cell and body fluid, except urine and bile. There are literally thousands of different proteins, each contributing in some way to your body’s health. To keep you operating efficiently, your body must manufacture millions of new proteins daily. Approximately one-third of these are derived from diet, while another two-thirds are “recycled” from “worn-out” tissue proteins. Meeting your dietary requirement means you need to obtain roughly 15-20 percent of your total calories from protein. Depending on your body weight, this will translate to around 50-90 grams of protein. Most of the current high-protein diets advocate deriving a minimum of 30 percent of your caloric intake from protein. And in fact, many go even further while also posing strict rules for extremely low carbohydrate consumption. So what’s the problem with that, you may be asking. If protein is so vital to health, isn’t “more” better? No, and here’s why. High-protein, low-carbohydrate diets tend to be low in calcium and fibre, as well as the healthy phytochemicals and unique antioxidants found in whole grains and starchy carbs like yams and parsnips. And ironically, restricting carbohydrate intake results in a loss of essential body protein. Proteins actually need carbohydrates to function properly—one of carbohydrate’s functions in the body is to spare protein for use in building and repairing tissue. What about the widely held notion that taking in extra protein will “build muscle”? It’s a misconception. “Extra protein does not build muscle,” confirms registered dietitian and image consultant Jennifer Letham-Sobkin. “Only weight training does that. And to power that training, you need carbohydrates—only carbohydrates can be stored in your muscles and used for energy during high-intensity anaerobic training.” High protein diets can also cause a negative calcium balance by increasing calcium loss through urine—in plain English, they’re bad news for your bones. Another indication they’re on the wrong track? They run contrary to the 1997 World Cancer Research Fund report, Food, Nutrition and the Prevention of Cancer. There is ONE caveat to all this—if you’re ill, recovering from surgery or an eating disorder or are extremely active—you may indeed need a little extra protein (25-30 percent). Just remember, you also need carbohydrates for that protein to do its job. Clearly, while extra protein is not helpful for the majority of us, adequate protein is essential. Thankfully, this amount of protein (15-20 percent) can easily be consumed with a normal mixed diet. As long as you include some good quality protein, be it animal or plant-based, at every meal and snack, you should have no problem meeting your needs for this essential nutrient.

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Isabelle Bulota’s

Wild BC Spot Prawns BLT Photos by Rebecca Wellman B.C. spot prawns are a delicacy cherished by locals and visitors alike. Festivals and local chefs celebrate the succulent, sweet flavour of these wild prawns during their six-to-eight-week season. When properly handled and cooked, they are firm in texture, perfect for cocktail appetizers or a sandwich you will never forget! Recipe serves 4.

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RECIPE ON THE NEXT PAGE

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WILD BC SPOT PRAWNS BLT 1 lb Quick Lemon Poached Prawns

through shells and just deep enough

(recipe follows)

into flesh to expose veins. Remove

1 cup Madras Curry Spread or Basil Aioli

veins.

(recipes follow)

Pour the water into a pot and gener-

8 slices of Terra Breads Heritage

ously season with salt. Add garlic,

Sourdough Levain Loaf

parsley,

Butter, at room temperature Baby arugula, butter lettuce, watercress or micro-greens 8 slices of pancetta or bacon, cooked 8 tomato slices 8 slices red onions

wine

and

peppercorns.

Squeeze juice from lemons into pot, then add the lemons. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Return to a rolling boil. Add prawns, cover pot and remove from heat. Let stand just until prawns are cooked through, about 3-5 minutes.

In a bowl, mix prawns with either the

Transfer prawns with a slotted spoon

Madras curry spread or the basil aioli.

onto a bed of ice and let cool. Peel

Preheat a skillet over medium heat.

prawns.

Generously butter both sides of each slice of bread. Place slices onto skillet

Madras Curry Spread

and grill until browned on each side.

1 cup mayonnaise

Cover 4 slices of bread with arugula,

2 tsp Madras curry, ground

pancetta, tomatoes, red onions and

4 Tbsp ketchup

seasoned prawns.

Choices for added flavours: drop of

Close the sandwich with the second

Tabasco, lemon zest, Worcestershire

slice of bread.

sauce, cognac or brandy.

Quick Lemon Poached Prawns

In a bowl, combine all ingredients. Keep refrigerated till ready to use.

One of the best ways to complement the beautiful spot prawn flavour while retaining the prawn’s moisture is to add aromatics to the poaching liquid. 1 lb shell-on, head off, wild BC spot

Basil Aioli 1 cup mayonnaise 1 cup fresh basil, finely chopped 2 tsp Dijon mustard

prawns

Zest of 1 lemon

2 cups water

3 Tbsp chives, finely chopped

Kosher salt 4 garlic cloves, skin on, smashed 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, washed 1 cup dry white wine 1 Tbsp black peppercorns 2 lemons, halved Using kitchen shears, cut along the length of the backs of the prawns

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In a bowl, combine all ingredients. Keep refrigerated till ready to use.

WHERE TO GET THEM 12th Annual Spot Prawn Festival Saturday, May 12, 2018 False Creek Fishermen’s Wharf 1505 West 1st Avenue, Vancouver. or at your favourite fishmonger


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GOING WITH THE GRAIN Rice, or Oryza sativa, originated in China thousands of years ago but quickly spread its magic around the world. story by Shelora Sheldan photo by Rebecca Wellman

IT ALL STARTED WITH RICE PUDDING. The one you find on Greek restaurant menus across Canada: thick, creamy and decorated with an even layer of adobebrown cinnamon. While enjoying this simple and comforting dessert, I was suddenly struck by how rice has been adopted, adapted and embraced around the world. As a cereal grain, it is the most widely consumed staple food in the world. While Asia still cultivates the majority of this globetrotting carbohydrate, you can find rice growing in the Mexican coastal flatlands of Veracruz, Italy’s fertile Po Valley, the Sacramento Valley of California and Australia’s Murray Valley, to name a few.

As a symbol of fertility and prosperity, it is thrown at the bride and groom at weddings, and festivals celebrate both its planting and harvesting while various gods and goddesses are honoured. The origins of Oryza sativa, the mother genome of rice, is in China, but where exactly is up for debate. Whether it’s the Pearl River or Yangtze River valleys, it’s safe to say that from there, cultivation quickly spread to south and southeast Asia, and through centuries of trade became central in shaping global dietary habits. C O N T I N U E D O N F O L L O W I N G PA G E

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C O N T I N U E D F R O M P R E V I O U S PA G E

Its influence and versatility is mind blowing. It’s not just steamed for a traditional side dish for Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Indian cuisine, but can be boiled with water for comforting congee or rice soup, or a sweet and refreshing beverage called horchata, which is popular in Mexico. Italy created a national dish by adding hot stock to short grain rice for its creamy risottos, and in Spain, it’s celebrated in seafood and meat-bejewelled paellas. Pilafs are a close cousin and other variations show up on tables from India and the Middle East to the Mediterranean and Caribbean, each with its own stamp, reflecting cultural regionality and affordability. Fried rice is another shape-shifting dish with versions found around the world. Japan uses rice in the most intriguing ways. As their primary staple food, it’s not just cooked and formed into sushi, nigiri and onigiri but fermented for sake, rice vinegar and mirin. The starch is used for savoury or sweetly stuffed mochi cakes and also consumed as genmaicha, a wonderful green tea flecked with toasted and popped rice. Rice noodles are another byproduct found in some of Asia’s most popular dishes. Think vermicelli noodles in Vietnamese pho and the transparent circular sheets used for summer rolls, the Cantonese chow fun, savoury jelly-like rolls from the dim sum cart and, of course, pad Thai. Toasted and ground rice is integral in the Thai dish larb gai and a Sichuan delicacy of steamed beef coated with toasted and cracked rice. Pairings of rice with beans are not only found in Japan (such as the traditionally celebratory dish of sticky rice and azuki beans called osekihan), but are the national dishes of Colombia, Costa Rica and Louisiana, where riz is also integral to the classic jambalaya and crawfish étouffée. Cook the kernels in milk or cream with sugar, and you have the makings of your own rice pudding. While Greece makes one plentiful with cinnamon, India puts their signature on the dish with saffron, cardamom and pistachio nuts. What is yours? Breakfast had been transformed by 1927 with the invention of Rice Krispies, a cooked, dried, sweetened and toasted rice cereal with a branded Snap! Crackle! Pop! Its popularity spawned the sugar- and marshmallow-laden rice krispie squares and modern-day inventions such as the sesame-ginger version from Momofuku Milk Bar, a chain of bakery restaurants that is part of the Manhattan-based Momofuko restaurant group.

Rice is Nice Rice can be brown, white, red or black with short, medium and long grains and varying degrees of starchiness. More than 100 varieties of rice are grown in the world, but the most common varieties of Oryza sativa are japonica and indica. Japonica produces sticky, short-grained varieties such as arborio, bomba, black, red and sushi rices. Short grain is commonly used for paella, risotto—and rice pudding!—with variations within. Arborio rice, for example, is slightly different than Spanish bomba rice. Paella aficionados claim that bomba rice is ideal because it’s fatter than arborio and can absorb more liquid, making it less sticky than arborio, or even sushi rice. I can’t tell you the subtle differences but would encourage experimentation. Indica are the long-grained varieties such as basmati and jasmine, otherwise known as Thai fragrant rice. These are the classic everyday rices, the ones I usually cook at home and are served in Chinese and Indian restaurants. Medium-grain rice is a hybrid, and wild rice, although not from the same genus, is still a distant cousin. For a little trivia, parboiled or converted rice (not the same as minute or instant rice) is actually nutrient-dense. During processing, the rice kernels are soaked and steamed under intense pressure, forcing the nutrients from the rigid outer hull into the inner endosperm of the kernel. Converted rice is packed with plenty of vitamins and is very low on the glycemic index, making it ideal for those wanting to limit their sugar intake. According to a chef friend, converted rice is also ideal for making and freezing as it holds its shape when thawed.

How to Cook The most common method of cooking is the absorption method, based on a one to two ratio of rice to liquid. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 13 to 20 minutes, depending on the rice. Fluff

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with fork and enjoy. Using a rice cooker is another popular method that steams the rice using the same one to two ratio, and is convenient and produces consistent results. To enhance cooking, rice can be soaked and/or toasted or fried before liquid is added. For brown rice, soaking 20 minutes beforehand is said to improve its nutritional value, and soaking basmati

COMING SOON

rice for two hours and up to 24 vastly improves yield and texture. (See our recipe for perfect basmati rice from chef Heidi Fink.) Soaking helps produce a better end product in general, but particularly if the rice has been sitting around in its dried form for a while, especially in a woven

THE

sack. To rinse or not to rinse—that is the question. In the case of sushi rice, rinsing a couple of times in water until it runs clear is based on a long tradition. It rids the product of excess starch and promotes a better end product, but with advances made in cultivation, no-rinse varieties are now the norm.

2018 COLLECTOR’S EDITION

Glutinous rice, billed as such on the label, lends itself to steaming. Made by par-cooking the rice and then transferring to a steamer lined or folded into banana or lotus leaves, think Chinese sticky rice with sausage. And it’s very suitable for desserts, too. Glutinous black rice pudding, for example, made with coconut milk and dotted with mango is a luscious treat. If you’ve ever made rice and ended up with a toasted or scorched crust on the bottom, fear not. That is a delicacy in Iran, known as tahdig, and is a highlight of a number of dishes, such as Spanish paella, Korean dolsot bibimbap and guo ba of Sichuan province. Perhaps it’s even a forerunner to those dried crispy rice cakes. To dig deeper, various techniques for cooking rice and the traditions that surround it can be found in the books Every Grain of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop, and Seductions of Rice by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. You never know where life will take you when you dig into dessert.

Perfectly Cooked Basmati Rice: Two Ways Here are two cooking methods for basmati rice from chef and culinary instructor Heidi Fink. The second version involves soaking the rice for at least 2½ hours and as long as 24 hours. “It’s long but not difficult,” says Fink, “and results in such tender, flavourful and distinctly separate grains of rice that it’s worth doing at least once.” She recommends Lal Qilla and Tilda brands as the best. (Both recipes make 3 cups, serving 4 to 6 people) Version One 1 cup white basmati rice 1 and 2/3 cup water

$12

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter In a small pot with a tight-fitting lid and a heavy bottom, heat the butter over medium heat until it froths. Add the rice all at once and stir gently with a wooden spoon to coat all the grains with butter. Cook for 2-4 minutes, stirring gently every few seconds. Add the water and mix well. Bring to a boil, uncovered and undisturbed. Once boiling, stir a few more times, cover, reduce heat to very low and cook for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit, tightly covered, for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove lid, fluff gently with a fork or a rice paddle, and serve.

RECIPES, LOCAL FOOD STORIES AND LUSCIOUS PHOTOGRAPHY Printed on high quality paper, this 2018 collection of delicious recipes and unique food stories from EAT’s top writers and photographers will become your go-to food book this season.

Version Two First rinse the rice in several cups of water. Drain well, using a sieve. In a small pot with a tightfitting lid and heavy bottom, combine the drained rice with 1 and 2/3 cups of water. Let soak at room temperature for 2½ to 24 hours. When ready to cook, place the pot on a burner. Add the butter and bring to a boil, uncovered and undisturbed. Once boiling, stir gently a few times to lift

Find the EAT Collector’s Edition at most grocery stores, specialty food shops and delis, book stores and online.

any grains sticking to the base of the pot. Cover and reduce heat to very low and cook for 15 to 18 minutes.

In stores and online mid May. Only $12.

Turn off the heat and let sit, tightly covered, for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove lid, fluff gently with a fork or a rice paddle, and serve.

theeatjournal.com

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Jennifer Danter’s

THE UMAMI BOMB

Get set for some big, deep and richly textured flavours. Hello, homemade hoisin sauce. We love your heady, meaty mouthfeel on chompy, big-boned pork chops, especially when paired with a slaw that’s tangy yet slightly sweet. We don’t know whether to reach for a beer or a napkin (probably both). RECIPE + STYLING Jennifer Danter PHOTOGRAPHY Jacqueline Downey

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TRIPLE-THREAT HOISIN CHOPS Homemade hoisin is easier than you think. The flavour bomb comes from a trio of umami-rich flavours: miso, tahini and mushroom powder. Makes a great marinade and finishing sauce. Serves 4-6. ¼ cup vegetable oil 6 large garlic cloves, minced or grated (Tip: using a rasp makes it so easy) ⅔ cup soy sauce ⅓ cup honey or maple syrup ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar 2 Tbsp miso paste (shiro or shinshu) 2 Tbsp sesame tahini 1 Tbsp mushroom powder* (optional) 1 Tbsp sriracha sauce 4 to 6 bone-in pork loin chops, about ¾ inch thick ½ tsp each sea salt, pepper and cinnamon Heat oil in large, wide frying pan over medium heat. Add garlic; stir often until golden, 3 to 5 min. Whisk in soy sauce, honey, vinegar, miso, tahini and mushroom powder until evenly combined. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer, stirring often, until sauce is thick, 5 to 7 min. Stir in sriracha; taste and add more, if needed. Cool sauce. (Make ahead: refrigerate up to 1 week.) Coat each chop with 1 Tbsp of the hoisin sauce and sprinkle with the salt, pepper and cinnamon. Marinate at least 30 min. or overnight. Grill over medium-high heat, turning and basting occasionally with half of remaining sauce, until lightly charred and cooked through, about 5 min per side. Check doneness by inserting thermometer into thickest part of chops: pull them out at 135°F; they’ll keep cooking as they rest. Place on platter; brush with remaining sauce. Let stand 10 min. before serving. * Can’t find mushroom powder? Swap in nutritional yeast flakes.

Super Tangy Slaw Nothing out of the ordinary here. Just a hard-working slaw that delivers a tangy clean taste. A great foil for the hoisin chops. ¼ cup each white vinegar and vegetable oil 1½Tbsp granulated sugar 2 tsp garlic powder 2 tsp celery salt 8 cups mixed, thinly sliced red and green cabbage, kale and carrots 2 Tbsp each sunflower seeds and pepitas In bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, sugar, garlic powder and celery salt. Add cabbage mix; toss to evenly mix. Refrigerate; marinate at least 1½ hours before serving. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds and pepitas before serving.

PLATEWARE BY MICHELE LAFRENIERE FROM BUTTATA CERAMICS www.buttata.com @buttataceramics 45


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Rebecca Wellman’s

raspberry olive oil snacking cake

IF I HAD TO CHOOSE, RASPBERRIES WOULD BE MY NUMBER ONE BERRY. MY DESERT ISLAND FRUIT. MY FIRST CHOICE FOR PIE, ON ICE CREAM AND, IN THIS CASE, IN CAKE. I’m not going to lie. This cake took me three times to perfect. The addition of almond flour and that touch of flax add a nuttiness and depth that take it beyond a simple white cake. The sprinkle on top creates a crunch and a sweetness that perfectly complements. This cake, of course, is best when you can use the berries from your backyard in the summertime, but luckily for us, we have them available all year round in any of our many local grocers. While my beloved raspberries are my fave, they may not be yours, so feel free to sub in some sweetened rhubarb, pineapple, strawberries or blueberries. ⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil 2 eggs at room temperature Zest of one lemon ¼ cup of fresh lemon juice 1 cup full-fat plain Greek yogurt ½ cup white sugar ½ cup brown sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted 1 cup almond flour, sifted 3 tsp baking powder, sifted 2 Tbsp ground flax ½ tsp salt

RECIPE + STYLING Rebecca Wellman PHOTOGRAPHY Rebecca Wellman

2 cups fresh raspberries ⅓ cup butter ½ cup brown or white sugar ½ cup all-purpose flour Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9-by-13-inch pan and set aside. In a large bowl, mix olive oil, eggs, lemon zest and juice, yogurt, sugars and vanilla and lightly whisk until all ingredients are combined. In a smaller bowl, sift the flours and baking powder and lightly fold in the ground flax and salt.

the crumbly topping. Mix together with your fingers so it becomes crumbly with pieces about the size of a pea. Add the flour-baking powder mixture in parts to the olive oil mixture (don’t dump it all in at once or you’ll get lumps). Gently fold in the ingredients until they are combined. Do not over-mix! Gently fold in the raspberries. Place the batter in the greased pan and sprinkle sugar/ butter mixture evenly overtop. Bake for about 45-50 min., until the top is lightly golden and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the centre. Once the cake is done, take it out and set it on a rack to cool.

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Marie-Eve Charron’s

ARTICHOKE SALAD Toss raw artichokes, fennel, arugula, chicory leaves and mozzarella in a garlicky Parmesan vinaigrette for a crisp summery salad. RECIPE + STYLING Marie-Eve Charron PHOTOGRAPHY André Rozon Many of us shy away from artichokes because we

Artichoke Salad

Remove the hard outer leaves. Sprinkle with juice

don’t know how to prepare them—all those prickly

1 lemon

from the remaining lemon half as you work. Cut off

leaves scare us off. But with a little instruction, this

2 fresh artichokes

The easiest way to prepare artichokes is to boil or

½ bulb fennel, thinly sliced

the upper two-thirds (the thorny tips) of each of the

2 cups arugula

Cut about an inch off of the top of the artichoke.

steam them whole until tender and then pull the

2 cups chicory leaves

Cut artichoke in half lengthwise to create two equal

leaves off and dip them in melted butter, scraping the

2 mozzarella balls, 4½ oz each

halves, exposing the purple inner choke.

good part off with your teeth. When you get to the

Grated zest of 1 lemon, for garnish

artichoke heart, it’s pure heaven.

Using a spoon, remove the furry, inedible center

Fresh basil, for garnish

area, as well as any of the inner purple leaves

edible species of thistle can be tackled successfully.

For this recipe, we take a less calorific approach and skip the butter to make a summery salad using

To make the vinaigrette:

peeled and sliced raw artichokes. In-season garlic

Mix together the lemon juice and Dijon in a serving

scapes add a mild, garlicky note.

bowl. Mix in the Parmesan and garlic. Whisking

Serves 4 as a salad or appetizer.

constantly, gradually add the oil in a steady stream. Add the garlic scape, mix to combine, and season to

Parmesan Vinaigrette

taste with salt and pepper.

leaves.

Once you do that, then what you have left after the outer leaves are removed is the heart of the artichoke, which is the most edible part. Immediately immerse it in the lemon water while you prepare the other half. Repeat with the second artichoke. When you’re ready to serve, use a mandolin to finely

Juice of 1 lemon

slice the artichokes and place them in the

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

To make the salad:

2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

½ clove garlic, finely chopped

Halve the lemon and squeeze the juice from one half

½ cup olive oil

into a bowl of cold water. Wash the artichokes, one at a time, then cut off the bitter, fibrous end of the stem

Divide the salad evenly between four plates. Rip the

1 Tbsp thinly sliced garlic scape

with your knife, leaving about an inch left on the

mozzarella into bite-size pieces and arrange it over-

Salt and pepper

artichoke. Peel the outer skin from the remaining

top the salad. Garnish with lemon zest and basil.

vinaigrette. Add the fennel, arugula and chicory and mix to combine.

stem.

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OLD-FASHIONED CITY A bourbon-soaked, bitter-sweet reflection on the original cocktail. STORY: DANIEL MURPHY

PHOTOGRAPHY: JOHANN VINCENT

BARTENDER: NATE CAUDLE AT CENOTE RESTAURANT AND LOUNGE, ON YATES STREET, VICTORIA. DRINK: OLD-FASHIONED.

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BARTENDER: BRANT PORTER AT VENETO KITCHEN + BAR ON DOUGLAS STREET, VICTORIA. DRINK: OLD-FASHIONED.

PART I: A SUMMARY OF WHISPERS

bar first threw a little sugar and bitters into a rocks glass and poured liquor and ice into it,

The history of the Old-Fashioned is as hazy and elusive as a Prohibition speakeasy.

altering History itself. Clive’s barman, Jayce Kadyschuk, is a journeyman of 20 years and

Multiple sources offer footnotes that point to the same dead-ends, or link to pages

has seen the revival of cocktail and bartending culture revitalize an industry that’s “not just

suspiciously missing from archives, as though someone overheard a quote in a dark

what you do for a job while you’re at school anymore.” As for the Old-Fashioned, it’s “a

barroom, published it and was never heard from again. Now someone is covering their

great way to gauge the bartender. It’s the original cocktail, but you can still use it as a bit of

tracks. And no one will identify the Perp in a lineup. From the fragments of information

a signature.”

available comes the following summary of whispers and vague allusions …

If this is the case, then Jayce’s signature is scrawled deliberately, in impeccable calligraphy.

The first recorded usage of the term “cocktail” was by an apparently clueless New Yorkian

It begins by ceremoniously placing a single brown sugar cube in a mixing tin; his layering

in 1806, asking the short-lived weekly paper The Balance and Columbian Repository to

of additional ingredients is methodical and practiced, like a musician playing a personal

define its meaning. The editor’s response was that a cocktail is a mixture of spirits, bitters,

favourite. It ends with another flourish, wiping the fresh orange rind around the outside of

water and sugar. He neglected to mention that it’ll also put you on your ass quicker than

the tumbler, continuing the drink outside of the glass, as it were.

bareknuckle champ John “The Boston Strongboy” Sullivan. By the 1860s, the popularity of these mixtures had proven to be their downfall: innovation led to the addition of

PART III: THE GETAWAY DRIVER

liqueurs, such as curaçao and absinthe, and the original, simpler prototypes were consid-

And then sometimes you just really need to get from Point A to Point B faster than The

ered archaic, “old-fashioned” incarnations to the Nouveau Ivre (Nouveau Ivre is a play on

Heat. In which case, you’ll want the Little Jumbo version behind the wheel. Accustomed to

the term Nouveau Riche, that literally translates to the ‘new drunk’ as opposed to the ‘new

breakneck speed, it handles incredibly well under pressure and will get you where you

rich.’) who were busy slurping them down while dancing the “Ruck-Ruck-Galop” and

want to be in style—all without breaking a sweat. The Jumbo barroom is consistently grid-

lamenting the ravages of the Civil War.

locked with bodies, from wall to exposed-brick wall, and as such they pay attention to

During the 1880s, whiskey evolved into the most popular base liquor for these “old-

delivering the highest quality experience with the speedometer nudging into the red when

fashioned” cocktails, and it around that time that The Pendennis gentlemen’s club in

necessary.

Louisville, Kentucky, laid claim to the invention of the capitalized “Old-Fashioned,” which

Chatting while shifting the gears behind Jumbo’s bar is Kyle Guilfoyle, who has slung

the entire city now celebrates in an annual, saddeningly brief “Old Fashioned Fortnight,”

liquor across the country, from Toronto’s Bar Raval to our very own Veneto. For Kyle, the

involving dark, macabre revelries best left unspoken.

Old-Fashioned is “steeped in history, intrigue and romance. That said, there’s a time and a

Nowadays, ask a dozen bartenders what’s in an Old-Fashioned, and you’ll get one answer:

place for that, and it’s not during peak service on a high-volume drink.” Jumbo’s method to

sugar, bitters, whiskey, ice, garnish. But ask the same bartenders how to make one, and

maintain the intrigue and romance under duress is a version they refer to as the “Stream-

you’ll get at least that many answers, all marked with asterisks, contingency plans and

lined Old-Fashioned.” This involves pre-batching a demerara syrup—equal parts sugar and

either/or’s.

hot water—and dosing it accordingly during the fast-tracked mix. No grainy residue, no wait time for muddling or dissolution. Secondly, they keep a stash of rocks glasses in a

PART II: THE OLD HAND Clive’s Classic Lounge was created during a 2008 rebuild of the Chateau Victoria Hotel,

freezer, with a measured volume of water already frozen into them, which “serves the same purpose as a large ice cube, but it’s quicker to make and less clunky to drink.”

which sounds ironic—a “classic’ that’s less than a decade old. But their take on the Old-

Which is not to suggest that this is a fast-food model for cocktail service. Their dedication

Fashioned is a direct throwback to those daring days when some anonymous hero behind a

to the artistic side of their craft is evident when describing the interplay of their bitters as C O N T I N U E D O N T H E N E X T PA G E

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BARTENDER: KYLE GUILFOYLE AT LITTLE JUMBO RESTAURANT AND BAR ON FORT STREET, VICTORIA. DRINK: OLD-FASHIONED.

BARTENDER: JAYCE KADYSCHUK AT CLIVES CLASSIC LOUNGE IN THE CHATEAU VICTORIA HOTEL ON BURDETT AVENUE, VICTORIA. DRINK: OLD-FASHIONED. 52

MAY/JUNE 2018


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conjuring a “chiaroscuro” effect. Angostura Aromatic [bitters] are deep, dark and clovelike. Angostura Orange [bitters] is the top note, the light.” And that duality comes through in the finished product. Their insistence on a cask-strength bourbon pays off: it brings the heat, against the softening touch of demerara, and the lifted aromatics of the combined bitters. Throw in the functionality of the pre-cubed glass, and it is a study in minimalism; complex and deliciously simple, all at once.

PART IV: THE INSIDE MAN Two bars in, and already the potential for immensely different interpretations within the Old-Fashioned recipe are obvious. There’s little discernible link between them whatsoever.

ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS LIGHT THE BARBECUE Quality meats, Poultry, Cheeses, Specialty Products & Condiments

Apart from Nate Caudle. Nate reminisces about his own time at Clive’s, and his enjoyment of the time-heavy processes inherent in their cocktail program. He also recalls how he helped create the “Streamlined Old Fashioned” during his tenure at Little Jumbo after seeing people swilling low-grade versions of the drink elsewhere and it hit a competitive nerve: “It seemed like a way to get people talking. Like: ‘Hey, those guys have a kickass Old-Fashioned.’” It was no

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short order to construct a deeply memorable version of what he considers “the most emulated, riffed-on, twisted DNA of any cocktail.” But for confirmation of its success, see above. When I ask Nate how his own personal inclinations informed these recipes, and vice versa, he explains that although every bartender worth their salt has their own unique preferences for the Old-Fashioned, “the house style should always prevail.” Consistency is key for patron satisfaction. Tuesday afternoon’s Old-Fashioned at X Bar has to taste like Friday evening’s, or someone is going to be disappointed at some point. Now Nate has joined the team at Cenote, an unassuming subterranean space on Yates Street that he has always been drawn to for its relaxed, unpretentious atmosphere. It is a refuge for hospitality insiders, where good drinks and times can be had without necessarily

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analyzing every jigger and muddle. Have a beer. Shoot the shit. Play some Scrabble. Having said that, it would be foolish to overlook their cocktail program. Their Old-Fashioned shoots from the hip, and it hits its mark. This is your grandfather’s Old-Fashioned: “It should be sharp. You should feel it from the first sip.”

PART V: THE FRESH MEAT Don’t let Brant Porter’s youth fool you: he already has a decade of experience notched into his hospitality belt. As the newly appointed bar manager of recently renovated Veneto, one would expect the responsibility to weigh heavily, but he’s approaching it with the confidence and vision of a grizzled veteran. His vision for the house Old-Fashioned, and for the evolution of Veneto’s cocktail program in general, will be to “match the aesthetic of the new space,” which is designed to maximize their ability to interact more easily with each customer: “To make it an experience.” Coupled with Brant’s prerogative (via the seminal bartending textbook Meehan’s Cocktail Manual) that “nothing’s sacred with the Old-Fashioned,” he aims to maintain Veneto’s rock-solid house version, but also have bartenders use the Old-Fashioned as a framework through which to engage customers to try whiskeys they may not be familiar with. Or even to explore new liquors and bitters combinations (far removed from traditional notions of the whiskey-based Old-Fashioned) that still subscribe to its ratios and fundamental concept. “You could use mescal, agave nectar, molé bitters and a lime garnish—it still technically adheres to that very first Old-Fashioned recipe,” he muses. But considering Veneto’s house Old-Fashioned was “stupidly popular” prior to their temporary closure, don’t expect the staple to be far out of reach. There’s a reason it has survived relatively unchanged in the global bar scene for the past 200 years. As Brant observes, “The taste is beyond the sum of its parts.” And that never goes out of style.

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Liquid Assets

LARRY ARNOLD

BARGAINS FROM FRANCE AND ITALY CAVE DE LUGNY CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE CUVEÉ MILLÉSIMÉE BRUT 2013  $22.00-24.00

Cave de Lugny is a highly regarded cooperative located in the tiny village of Chardonnay in  the  Mâcon  region  of  southern  Burgundy.  Made  in  the  Champagne  Method,  Cuveé Millésimée is a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Pale straw in colour with buttered toast, citrus and hazelnut aromas. Soft with a lovely creamy texture, supple fruit and zesty acidity! Plenty going on here and at less then half the price of Champagne, this  delicious Crémant is an unbelievable bargain that should not be missed. MASSERIA LI VELI FIANO PUGLIA 2016, ITALY  $16.00-18.00

Masseria Le Veli has earned an envious reputation as a player focused on producing premium wines from the many indigenous grapes of Puglia. For those of us weaned on the genteel wines of the north, the bright yellow colour of this Fiano may be off putting, but don’t lose your resolve! Plunge your nose deep into the bowl of your trusted tumbler and sniff as if your life depended upon it. It is a sensory revelation. Very fresh, very fruity, with zesty citrus and ripe pear aromas.  But hold on, there is plenty more to come, with fresh fruit flavours and lively acidity performing a pas de deux on your salivating palate.  LES VERGERS SÈVRE ET MAINE MUSCADET SUR LIE 2015, FRANCE  $16.00-18.00

As famed English cook book writer Elizabeth David put it in 1960, “few white wines go so ‘admirably’  well  with  fish  as  a  good  brisk  and  briny  Muscadet  made  from  Melon  de Bourgogne!” This was true then and after a hiatus in the dustbin of shoddy wine making, it is true once again. Domaine Veronique Günther-Chéreau is one of the oldest domains in Nantes. The family has been making wine here since the middle ages. Tart and tangy with a crystalline, saline quality, great minerality and a bone-dry finish. 

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STEMMARI ROSATO 2016, ITALY $16.00-17.00

 

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In Nanaimo’’ss Old City Quarter

STAGS’ LEAP NAPA VALLEY CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014, CALIFORNIA $52.00-55.00

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Very polished with a heady bouquet of dark plum, blackberry and vanilla. Medium-bodied with rich fruit flavours, nicely integrated oak and fine-grained tannins. Very refined with impressive concentration and great length. JADOT BEAUJOLAIS-VILLAGES “COMBE AUX JACQUES” 2016, FRANCE $22.00-24.00

Gamay is the grape of Beaujolais and few do it better than Jadot. Bright cherry, strawberry and spice aromas, medium-bodied with ripe fruit flavours nicely balanced with bright acidity and a long juicy finish.   SEGONZAC PREMIERÈS CÔTES DE BLAYE, VIEILLE VIGNES 2014, FRANCE $23.00-25.00

Château Segonzac is located just outside of the small village of Saint-Genes-De-Blay on the right bank of the Gironde estuary in Bordeaux, France. The 31-hectare vineyard is planted  with  Merlot,  Cabernet  Sauvignon,  Cabernet  Franc  and  Malbec.  Owner  Jacob Marmet  is  a  determined  perfectionist  and  the  fruit  from  the  “Vieille  Vignes”  is  handharvested and hand-sorted once it gets to the winery. The must is then fermented in a combination of steel and cement tanks and the wine matured in small oak barrels for 12 months. Concentrated and aromatic with lush fruit flavours and ripe tannins. Chateau Segonzac is considered by many the pundits to be one of the finest producers in the appellation. Nice to find a solid well-made Bordeaux at a this price. HUREAU SAUMUR-CHAMPIGNY TUFFE 2015, FRANCE $23.00-25.00

The lovely Cabernet Franc’s of Saumur-Champigny can fall into two general categories. The first can be expensive and require time and patience; the second are those ready to drink as soon as to you can get the cork out of the bottle. This lovely red lands in the second camp. The vineyards are framed organically and are en route to biodynamic certification and the wine spends two years in tank before bottling and release. Very aromatic and expressive with violets, raspberry and an earthy herbaceous quality. Light-bodied with a generous palate redolent with tangy fruit flavours, fine-grained tannin and bright acidity. Ridiculous value for a classic Loire Valley Cabernet Franc.

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DUNCAN

MATTICK’S FARM

Hudson’s On First

Adrienne’s Restaurant & Tea Garden

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.

Enjoy our famous Eggs Benedict, Omelette and Belgian Waffle as ALL DAY BREAKFAST! New: KID'S Menu and AFTERNOON Menu with our popular High Tea, Gourmet Cheese, Antipasto and Ploughman's platter, great Desserts and Drinks. Enjoy our outdoor patio seating. Open daily, book your reservations, 250-658-1535. 5325 Cordova Bay Road, Victoria, BC, AdriennesTeaGarden.com

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Duncan Garage Café & Bakery Serving up healthy and delicious vegetarian food 7 days a week. Check out our spring menu. Blending up super food smoothies for your spring health. Looking forward to serving you healthy and vibrant Duncan Garage Creations. 330 Duncan St., Downtown Duncan (across from the railway station), 250-748-6223

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