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Celebrating Food & Drink in BC


Grilled Halibut Fillets on Asparagus with Cherry Tomato Salsa

Local | Sustainable | Fresh | Seasonal

May | June l 2009 | Issue 13-03 | FREE

A food walk in my ‘hood Dinner for $20 at a resto? Worldly breakfasts Apéritif time Rice for epicures Spring seafood


It chops, pureĂŠs, whips & even kneads dough MADE IN SWITZERLAND

Broadmead Village, Victoria 130-777 Royal Oak Drive 250-727-2110

Bridal Registry Available MAY | JUNE 2009



Editor’s Note: fish + road trips



inally. Spring has arrived on the coast. According to farmers it’s about a month late this year. This has pushed back the opening of many farmer’s markets around BC. I’ve put a list of a few major markets on the next page but the opening dates may or may not be accurate. From what I can tell, though, the late spring hasn’t affected the season for halibut and spot prawns. Both are local sustainable fisheries and both are favourites of mine. I love halibut’s versatility—because it’s mild, it can be prepared almost anyway you like it. Check out our fresh and simple cover recipe (pg. 8) or try it my go-to way. Marinate cubes of halibut filet in garlic, oregano and lemon, skewer and grill over wood. Simply hell yeah! I don’t eat farmed Asian shrimp anymore (they’re mostly raised in toxic cesspools) but I love BC spot prawns. Since our local prawn season is only about 8 weeks long I buy and cook as much as I can afford while they’re around. A true seasonal treat. Check out Nathan Fong’s recipes starting on page 24. —Bon appétit, Gary Hynes, Editor Gary Hynes

eat magazine May | June 2009 Concierge Desk . . . . 6 Epicure at Large . . . . 9 Food Products . . . . . . 7 Good for You . . . . . . 12 Travels . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Restaurant Reporter 16 Local Heroes . . . . . . 21 Local Kitchen . . . . . 24 What’s in Season? . 29 Chefs Talk . . . . . . . .30 The BC Food Scene 32 The Dish . . . . . . . . . 39 Liquid Assets . . . . . 42 Wine & Terroir . . . . .44 Neighbourhoods . . .46




Island Chefs Bastion Squa Opens Mid-Ju Bastion Squa

Moss Street Opens May 3 1330 Fairfield

Cover recipe pg. 8 Photo by Michael Tourigny

Editor in Chief Gary Hynes Contributing Editor Carolyn Bateman, Vancouver Contributing Editor Julie Pegg Editorial Assistant/web editor Katie Zdybel

Community Reporters Victoria: Katie Zdybel, Nanaimo: Su Grimmer, Comox Valley: Hans Peter Meyer Tofino | Uclulet: Kira Rogers, Vancouver: Julie Pegg, Okanagan: Jennifer Schell Contributors Larry Arnold, Michelle Bouffard, Jennifer Danter, Pam Durkin, Gillie Easdon, Andrei Fedorov, Jeremy Ferguson, Nathan Fong, Lorraine Forster, Duncan Holmes, Mara Jernigan, Chris Johns, Tracey Kusiewicz, Tara Lee, Andrew Lewis, Ceara Lornie, Sherri Martin, Kathryn McAree, Michaela Morris, Colin Newell, Julie Pegg, Karen Platt, Treve Ring, Kira Rogers, John Schreiner, John Sherlock, Elizabeth Smyth, Michael Tourigny, Sylvia Weinstock, Rebecca Wellman

Publisher Pacific Island Gourmet | EAT ® is a registered trademark. Advertising: Lorraine Browne (Vancouver Island), Paul Kamon (Vancouver), Kira Rogers (Tofino), Gary Hynes (agencies, regional and national). 250.384.9042, All departments Box 5225, Victoria, BC, V8R 6N4, tel. 250-384-9042, fax. 250-384-6915 Since 1998 | EAT Magazine is published six times each year. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. Although every effort is taken to ensure accuracy, Pacific Island Gourmet Publishing cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions that may occur. All opinions expressed in the articles are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the publisher. Pacific Island Gourmet reserves the right to refuse any advertisement. All rights reserved.



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“The original purpose of a Farmers Market was to re-connect the community to people who produce their food for their mutual benefit and enjoyment.” VANCOUVER ISLAND Island Chefs Collaborative Bastion Square Market Opens Mid-June Bastion Square, Victoria Moss Street Market Opens May 3 1330 Fairfield Rd., Victoria The James Bay Community Market The Market is open 9-3 every Saturday from May 2nd, 2009 to Oct 10 th, 2009 Superior and Menzies, Victoria Peninsula Country Market Open from June 14 to October 4, Closes August 30, Sat 9:00am to 1:00pm The Sannich Fairgrounds, 1528 Stelly's Cross Road., Sannich Salt Spring Island's Saturday Market Each Saturday, from April 4, 2009 through the last Saturday in October. Oceanside at Centennial Park in the heart of Ganges Comox Valley Farmers Market Opens April 11, Headquarters Road., Comox Duncan Farmers Market Saturdays 9 am - 2 pm., Train Station

Nanaimo Downtown Farmers' Market Open from First Friday in May to Friday before Thanksgiving, Fri 10:00am to 2:00pm 90 Front Street, Nanaimo. On Pioneer Waterfront Plaza

MAINLAND Trout Lake Farmers Market Saturdays, May - October 9am - 2pm each week May 16 - October 10 15th Avenue & Victoria Drive in the Parking Lot of Trout Lake Community Centre, Vancouver East Vancouver Farmers Market 9 am - 2 pm, Saturdays, May 13 - October 7 Victoria Dr. and E. 15th Ave, Vancouver, 604-879-3276 UBC Farm June - Sept, 9am - 1pm Every Saturday during the summer Harvest Hut 6128 South Campus Road, Vancouver Kelowna Farmer’s Market Day Starts - Wednesday, April 1, 2009 Ends October 31, 2009. Every Wednesday and Saturday 8 AM to 1 PM Dilworth and Springfield, Kelowna

Gather with friends and family at Victoria’s favourite pub & sunniest seaside patios. Enjoy casual coastal cuisine, spectacular sunsets, local craft beers on tap, BC’s best boutique wines, sushi & sake bar and the most delicious hand-made fire-grilled AAA beef or Salt Spring Island lamb burgers.

Open daily for lunch & dinner from 11:30am to midnight.

Correction: In the last issue we inadvertently mis-identified the interior designer of the wonderful new Clive’s Classic Lounge in the Chateau Victoria Hotel. It is Gillian Ley of Ley Art and Interiors Ltd.

Reservations 250-544-2079 849 Verdier Ave, Brentwood Bay MAY | JUNE 2009


Culinary intelligence for the 2 months ahead


by Katie Zdybel

For more events visit THE BULLETIN BOARD at



A MATTER of TASTE GROUP TOUR at the UBC MUSEUM of ANTHROPOLOGY Explore the links between food and the MOA’s exceptional collection of 15th to 19th century ceramics in the Koerner European Ceramics Gallery. A tour of the gallery and a sampling of old-world foods is included. $12 per person also gets you into all Museum galleries. Call 604.822.3825 to book your group.

CHEF’S TABLE WINERY DINNER Featuring local wines and a five-course dinner; you can choose to splurge and stay overnight at the gorgeous Kingfisher Oceanside Resort and Spa in Courtenay. Call 250.338.1323 to reserve your place. June 4th.

ORGANIC ISLANDS FESTIVAL Anyone interested in participating in this year’s Organic Islands Festival should volunteer between April 1st and June 30th by contacting Jen Cizman at 250.658.8148. This festival, which runs July 4th and 5th, promotes a ‘Vancouver Island Diet’ and gives locals a chance to meet their producers as well as make new connections with up and coming green business leaders, ecopioneers, and environmental activists. Learn more on PORTLAND INDIE WINE FESTIVAL Take the train south for this charming and award-winning festival featuring Oregon’s top artisinal winemakers. Portland’s best chefs serve up local fare with flare while guests taste the first release of the year from 40 impossible-to-find Oregon producers. May 2nd. Tickets available at MOTHER’S DAY TEA at LONDON HERITAGE FARM Pamper your well-deserved mom with freshly baked scones, farm jam, homemade cookies, and the farm’s own blend of London Lady Tea on May 9th and 10th. London Heritage Farm is perched above the Fraser River in Richmond, BC, and is home to luscious flower gardens, chickens, and the restored Spragg family barn (circa 1880). Mom will love it. Visit ICCBC FOOD and WINE TOUR of TUSCANY Start in charming Siena and stay in the beautiful hillside town of San Gusme, Tuscany. Then get ready for a week of wine tasting and cooking at a handful of estates from May 10th to 16th. Book via Boulevard Travel at 403.802.4286. DEFENDING our BACKYARD LOCAL FOOD FESTIVAL Presented by the Island Chefs’ Collaborative, the Local Food Festival is a celebration of Vancouver Islands’ food and the people that bring it to us. A combination tasting and educational event. Taste, talk, learn, and discover at Fort Rodd Hill on May 31st. Call 250.388.4517 for more information.



MOTHER and CHILD REUNION: PASTURE-RAISED CHICKEN and EGG DINNER at DEERHOLME FARM Deviled eggs with cracklin and sumac are just the beginning. Learn from Chef Bill Jones how to prepare chicken and egg dishes that are anything but ordinary. June 6th. $90 per person. Visit for details. VISTA D’ORO WINEMAKERS DINNER at ABIGAIL’S HOTEL The evening includes a cooking demonstration, wine pairing seminar, and of course, a delicious meal. Chef Matt McGinn works closely with many of BC’s organic and artisan food producers and foragers while Vista D’oro proprietors Patrick and Lee Murphy are dedicated to producing farm-fresh ingredients. June 6th. Mother’s Day Brunch (May 10 - two seating’s only). Father's Day Beer Tasting Event (June 20). Reservations required. Contact the hotel at 1.800.561.6565 SPRING BOOT CAMP at FAIRBURN FARM These culinary boot camps were named one of Gourmet magazine’s top 45 picks in the world for culinary vacations. 5 days packed with basic and advanced techniques, farm trips, a day with a baker, field to table cooking, and a Saturday night feast that you prepare for local producers. $1995 includes all accommodations, meals, and classes. June 2nd to 7th. Email TOFINO FOOD and WINE FESTIVAL The main event, “Grazing in the Gardens,” showcases West coast food and wine held in the quirky and creative Tofino Botanical Gardens. Other events include grape stomping, specialty dinner at local restaurants and much more. Takes place June 5th to 7th. SOUTH WORLD WINE SOCIETY SUMMER SOLSTICE FESTIVAL New members welcome to come out celebrate the arrival of summer by tasting the best wines from Argentina, Australia, Chile, New Zealand, and South Africa. At the Vancouver Lawn Tennis & Badminton Club. Contact



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pictured left: sea asparagus, also known as Salicornia virginica and samphire “It’s beautiful, wild, good for you, and that taste? Oh my God!” Mirjana, of Mirjana’s in Dragon Alley, is describing sea asparagus with her characteristic charm, a mixture of glee and reverence. Salicornia virginica, or sea asparagus, looks like delicate miniature asparagus but belongs to the halophyte family, known for its ability to thrive in saline environments. Teeming with nutrients, and beloved for its crisp crunch, Salicornia is also unbearably salty unless soaked in cold water. The unmasked flavour Mirjana describes as a “mild lemongrass.” She never cooks sea asparagus but sautés it quickly in a hot dry pan (no oil) for mere seconds, often pairing it with roasted beet pasta. Brad Carey of Westcoast Seaweed lauds sea asparagus as “natural, exciting and sustainable.” It is a provincially licensed plant, though families may gather it for their personal use. Brad hand-harvests and carries it pre-blanched frozen—or pickled year round. “The flavour is not affected (by the freezing process), but it does rob the sea asparagus of its crunch, which is a popular characteristic so it is mostly used as garnish for seafood dishes.” Ground up, sea asparagus yields a high protein meal, and Carl Hodges, a Tucson-based atmospheric physicist, is even making biofuel from this green super-food. It seems there is nothing this tender stalk does not provide. So where can you find sea asparagus? If you are keen to wildcraft (forage for wild food), Moody Bay on Salt Spring Island, the Sooke Basin and Towner Park are all solid bets during June and July. And if you just want to sample without the mission? Westcoast Seaweed Inc, Finest at Sea, and perhaps in a dish or two at Mirjana’s when sea asparagus is in season will do quite well. Westcoast Seaweed Inc., 3140 Cook St., 250-812-6691 Mirjana’s, 532 Fisgard Unit 10, Dragon Alley, Lunch Mon-Sat 12-3 Finest at Sea, 27 Erie St., 250-383-7760

LETTERS Dear Editor, I just want to give my kudos to Sylvia Weinstock for all of her "What's in Season" pieces. I'm a fussy and particular consumer, and strawberries in January just don't cut it. Having her articles discuss and disseminate produce that is in season and delicious makes the anticipation of selecting and preparing these foods an exciting adventure all unto itself. Asparagus in the sping and not December? Fiddleheads in April? Brilliant! And even better? How to prepare it to show it off in it's best possible light. Thanks very much! Laurie Dear Julie Pegg, Thank you so much for the very nice article. It is way too early to compare to M. Lynch in anyway, but I appreciate the vote of confidence! Hope you are well. Thank you, Anthony Nicalo, President, Farmstead Wines MAY | JUNE 2009


to go




Grilled Halibut Fillets on Asparagus with Cherry Tomato Salsa


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ere’s a light and colourful way to serve fine-tasting West Coast halibut. Add a simple salad and lunch or dinner is ready.

Preparation time: 25 minutes Cooking time: 6 minutes Makes:4 servings 8 1 3 1 1

ripe cherry tomatoes, finely chopped tbsp fresh lime juice tbsp olive oil, plus some for the grill tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro small shallot, finely chopped hot pepper sauce to taste pinch sugar salt and white pepper to taste 4 (6 oz.) halibut fillets 20-24 asparagus spears, steams trimmed, spears blanched (see Note)

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Combine the tomatoes, lime juice, 1 Tbsp of the oil, cilantro, shallot, hot pepper sauce, sugar and salt in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until needed. Preheat your grill to medium-high. Brush the halibut with remaining oil; season with salt and pepper. Brush the bars of the grill lightly with oil. Grill the fish 3 minutes per side, or until just cooked through. To serve, set 5-6 asparagus spears in a lose row in the centre of each of 4 dinner plates. Set the halibut fillets on the asparagus. Top each fillet with a generous spoonful of the salsa, setting some of it in between in each asparagus spear, and then serve. Note: To blanch asparagus, plunge into boiling water 1-2 minutes. Cool in ice-cold water, and then drain well.

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specialty spirits wines from BC & around the globe craft beers expert advice 10 am to 9pm everyday 230 Cook St. Village

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— By Jeremy Ferguson

Day’s First Bite Around the world, the first meal is often a more fortifying affair than the hurried snack we call breakfast in North America.


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here’s magic in the day’s first light and first bite. And I mean a real breakfast; that is, not a coffee and a bun on the run, but the sort of breakfast that makes you want to pirouette into the sunlight, seize the day by its lapels and have your way with it. Paul Rush, the former editor of the Financial Post Magazine, once wrote about his breakfast obsession. As a boy, he’d heard of the English “rasher” of bacon and thought such a thing must be divine. Arriving in England years later, he could barely wait to order a rasher. When it arrived, it left him crushed. Rasher is the English term for one measly slice. Notwithstanding such linguistic miscues, the Brits can turn out a fine breakfast. The Irish, however, do it better. The classic Irish breakfast should include plump pork sausages, black pudding thickened with pig’s blood, thick slices of back bacon, Cashel blue cheese from the Republic and farl, the Irish potato scone crisped in butter (only when there’s no bacon fat to pump up your cholesterol). It is a breakfast full of guilt enough to fuel a week in a culinary confessional. When I began to travel, breakfast was the day’s first adventure. A Dutch breakfast left me sagging with deeply smoked cold cuts, pâtés, cheeses and ferocious coffee. The French breakfast isn’t much at all—it gets in the way of lunch—but coffee, croissants and people-watching on the boulevards of any French city remain one of life’s great treats. I found the most opulent breakfast of my life in St. Petersburg a decade ago on a hotel buffet. A silver platter groaned with thick slabs of smoked salmon and next to it stood a huge silver terrine spilling over with salmon roe. The salmon was unctuous and mouth-filling. The tangerine eggs popped and burst across the tongue. I went back and did it all over again. I contemplated ordering champagne and ending my journey there where I was starting it. But I never grew up breakfast-wise until I left Western culture behind me. Asia transformed my perspective. I discovered congee, the rice porridge that provides get-up-and-go to hundreds of millions of Asians. Chinese, Vietnamese, Malaysians and Thais all call it their own. Cantonese congee, especially, is a princely production of creamy consis-

tency, dressed with shredded chicken, ginger, scallions, shiitake mushrooms and peanuts, ideally washed down with jasmine tea. In Toronto, I used to haunt Rich Congee, a restaurant boasting not two, not 10, but 60 congees including salmon, scallops, duck, frog and geoduck, all with handfuls of ginger and green onion. In Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, I swooned at a cauldron of steaming congee flanked by crocks of chicken dumplings, tofu croutons, ginger, shallots, garlic, red and green chilies and spicy Thai sausage roaring with chilies and lemongrass. Vietnamese breakfast is more likely to be pho (pronounced “feu” as in pot-aufeu). A rip-snorting beef broth piled high with thinly sliced rare beef and brisket, spiked with sweet basil, star anise and cinnamon, it’s vastly more than “beef noodle soup” implies. Sometimes the secret weapon is polygonum, also known as knotweed or Vietnamese coriander, a peculiarly addictive herb tasting of citrus, flowers and soap. Nor is the Malay breakfast, nasi lemak, to be scoffed at. This is a central mound of coconut milk rice surrounded with cucumber, roast peanuts, salty little dried fish called anchovettas and fiery sambal, the Malay chili sauce. I adore the lot. But when asked about my favourite, I’m at no loss for a fast answer. My first Indian breakfast, in the temple city of Madurai 25 years ago, changed everything. After consuming a juicy red papaya the size of a football, I was introduced to the dosa, a feathery, billowing, crackling-crisp rice-flour crêpe that summarizes the racy cooking of the South. Some chefs turn out dosas a full metre in length. Stuffings for dosas, usually a potato curry, draw on Mother India’s symphony of spices. Traditional dosa sidekicks are sambar, a lentil stew, and coconut-chili and red lentil chutneys. Unfortunately for us Islanders who crave dosa, a cruise to the Mainland is necessary. South Indian eateries offer their traditional breakfast all day long. At Vancouver’s House of Dosas—a BaskinRobbins of dosas—the “gunpowder” dosa lives up to its name. Such a dosa galvanizes more than your day. It fires up an incarnation.

Mr. Mr r. Fish by LLyle yle Schultz




A new three course menu every month. Sunday to Thursday, only $30. See the menus at

250-598-8555 1327 Beach h Drive at the Oak Bay Marina arina www . .marinar m MAY | JUNE 2009


EAT@ — by Katie Zdybel Intrigue the sense, amuse the palate 1753 Shawnigan Mill Bay Rd 250.743.3667

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Visit terrali

Only 35 minutes from downtown Victoria


Rebecca Wellman

“French-influenced Shawnigan Lake restaurant, which turns out meals that rival the fare at top city eateries” - National Geographic Traveler, April 2009

Getr ready to dig! Tina Fraser-Baynes and Dayle Cosway




Gary Hynes

stone’s throw from the cacophony of the Pat Bay Highway is a quiet lane leading to Haliburton Organic Community Farm. Buffered by trees and homes, this agrarian oasis of gardens is scattered with a family of quail, a few farmers and a gaggle of chattering, worm-digging ducks. A mere 12 kilometres from Victoria, the nine-acre pocket of farm life is a patchwork of projects, the freshest and perhaps most innovative of all being the new Terralicious Gardening and Cooking School. A brilliant bridge between cooking lessons and gardening classes, the Terralicious philosophy is the celebration of food from “seed to spoon.” That is, students enrolled in Terralicious cooking classes spend half the two-hour class getting their knees dirty in the garden learning to plant and harvest a garden, and the remaining hour indoors learning how to turn the day’s harvest into elegant recipes they then enjoy around the table together. Sitting down with the creators of Terralicious, Tina Fraser-Baynes and Dayle Cosway, it soon becomes evident that I’m amid an abundance of knowledge. Tina has been deeply involved in an impressive collection of agricultural projects. She co-founded Victoria’s vibrant Moss St. Market as well as the Land for Food Coalition and the Vancouver Island chapter of the Canadian Organic Growers. She also teaches organic farming courses at Camosun College. Dayle has a degree in business, has written a book on mapping sun exposure for premium gardening and is an experienced flower grower. Sitting around a table (set with an exquisite lunch they’d prepared) with these two women soon gives me a taste of what a Terralicious class will be; that is, chock full of knowledge, inspiration and good taste. The school has tapped into a movement that is currently underway. It seems more people are wanting stronger connections with their food, the land and with each other. Yet many grew up in apartments or on small city properties and now work most of the day in office buildings. They have forgotten, or never learned, the skills it takes to begin a garden, grow one’s own food and put it up for the winter. And for some, the amount of work involved in starting to garden is intimidating. But not for Tina Fraser-Baynes. “That kind of work feels good,” she says. Her enthusiasm is appealing; anyone not certain they’re cut out for the dirt-covered part of the class will be inspired by Tina. “It’s a community effort,” Dayle adds. “The women all get together or the families all get together for the harvesting, cleaning and preserving.” Connecting the joy of hard work in the garden with the pleasure of cooking and sharing in good food with friends is what Terralicious is all about. CONT’D ON THE NEXT PAGE


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For those who are already serious about farming, the women are a wealth of wisdom on small-scale market gardening. “Part of our garden is set up as a model for micro-commercial gardening so people can take that model, bulk it up and start their own commercial operation,” Tina explains. “The classes will be really valuable for people selling at the market because you really need to talk about your food and how to prepare it, how it tastes.” Another garden is measured out to fit in the typical city-dweller’s backyard. Students can learn how to create and tend their garden at Terralicious then re-create it at home when they’re ready. “We want to help people start things,” Tina says, “like how to initiate a garden from a lawn.” The models started on Haliburton Farm land will be practice beds for Terralicious students. “We’ll also be addressing the mysteries of the compost,” Dayle adds. Outside, a couple of wooden-tiered composts have been built by Tina’s husband, designed specifically for smaller women and kids to handle easily. And a resident family of chickens will bravely offer their services to those wishing to learn about raising a small flock of hens. After working in the garden, Terralicious gardening students will come into the kitchen and classroom area, have a hot cup of coffee if it’s a breakfast class or a glass of wine if it’s the evening, and discuss a particular food plant. “The idea is that everyone should be able to eat very well,” Dayle says about the program. “I mean, the idea that you have to go out to a nice restaurant just to try a braised radish is ridiculous!” she exclaims. Her joie de vivre and apparent pleasure in food is just as contagious as Tina’s exclamation that working in the dirt is good fun.


Visit for class information.

Rebecca Wellman

Victoria Tea Festival


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miles were found in abundance, along with a selection of the finest teas, at the Victoria Tea Festival held in February. This popular showcase event, now in its third year, has proven to be a resounding success as young and old packed the venerable Crystal Gardens to sip and sample their way through all thing tea. Presented by Silk Road, the festival is the largest public tea festival in North America (proceeds go to benefit Camosun College Child Care Services). During the 2-day festival, seminars were held, demonstrations took place and the public wandered the two-floor venue tasting teas, tea drinks and prepared foods presented by over 35 exhibitors. Of note: Hosting the Perfect Tea Party by Christine Smart of Smart Events; Cooking with Teas by Steve Walker-Duncan of Ambrosia Conference & Event Centre, and Silk Road’s own Daniela Cubelic on A Connoisseur’s Guide to Tea. Among the exhibitors we loved the new tea developed for Aura at the Inn at Laurel Point, the foods at the Bubby Rose’s Bakery booth, and the refreshing organic green beverages from Oooli. MAY | JUNE 2009


GOOD FOR YOU — by Pam Durkin


The Super Lettuces


Lettuce isn’t usually recognized as a nutritional super-food, yet some are chock full of vitamins and minerals.


fter a winter replete with heavy comfort food, the palate yearns for salads once spring arrives. Lettuce is synonymous with salads, and while they’re generally thought of as healthy, lettuce itself has never been recognized as a nutritional “super-food.” That’s not surprising when you consider iceberg lettuce—devoid of nutrition AND flavour—is the most popular variety of lettuce in North America. But lettuce’s reputation as a nutritional lightweight is unwarranted—there are many varieties that are chock full of nutrients. To maximize the health benefits and flavour profile of your salads, try one of the following varieties; they’re all nutritional superstars.

flex your mussels

Every Wednesday night a full pound of fresh Gulf Island mussels & house frites are just $15.95. We have a variety of savoury recipes to choose from, and great prices on your favourite Phillips brew.

Make your reservation now! Call 250.655.9700 Valid from 5-9pm in Haro’s Restaurant & Bar. 12


ROMAINE—Well-known as the key ingredient of Caesar salad, this variety of headforming lettuce is distinguished by an elongated head and long, green leaves with a crisp texture and rich taste. It also has an impressive 62.5 mg of “bonefriendly” vitamin K per cup. In addition, Romaine contains healthy doses of vitamins A and C, folate, manganese, chromium, potassium, and fibre. Strong in texture and flavour, Romaine pairs beautifully with bold ingredients such as anchovies, blue cheese, garlic, chives, parmesan, and lemon. (For a Caesar done just right, try Rebar’s version—romaine has never tasted so good!) RED OR GREEN-LEAF—Green and red leaf lettuces have large, wavy leaves with scalloped edges that give them an undeniable aesthetic appeal. But they don’t just look good—they contain more disease-fighting antioxidants than any other variety of lettuce. Both types contain the cancerfighting carotenoids beta carotene and lutein, but red leaf lettuce also contains anthocyanins. Current research suggests anthocyanins can help fight heart disease, protect vision and ward off Alzheimer’s. And like romaine, leaf lettuce contains significant amounts of vitamins A and C, folate and manganese. In salads, it pairs nicely with crisp vegetables, walnuts, seafood, goat cheese and tomatoes. And leaf lettuce is highly suited to creamy dressings made with buttermilk or blue cheese. One of the best sources— Metchosin’s Eisenhawer Organic Farm— 250-474-7161. or at the Root Cellar

LAMB’S LETTUCE (a.k.a. MÂCHE)—This plant’s quaint moniker stems from its deep green leaves, which are apparently the size and shape of a lamb’s tongue. The slender leaves are clustered in loose heads and have a distinctive, velvety feel. The tender lamb’s lettuce of late spring is the most flavourful, but I find its mild, nutty taste a welcome addition to salads all summer long. Due to its delicate and perishable nature, lamb’s lettuce is more expensive than other salad greens. But don’t be fooled by its delicate nature— nutritionally it’s a heavyweight. It contains 30 percent more iron than spinach and hefty doses of vitamins A and C, folate, niacin, beta carotene and essential fatty acids. Because of its premium price, lamb’s lettuce is often used in organic “salad mixes.” However, if you don’t mind the expense, lamb’s lettuce featured as the “solo green” can turn an ordinary salad into something special. Marry it with roasted vegetables, bold cheeses and candied nuts, and you’ll impress any salad aficionado. (Tip—grow your own with seeds from Sooke’s Full Circle Seeds— ARUGULA—While arugula is not botanically classified as a lettuce, this leafy green herb is most often referred to, and eaten as, lettuce. Characterized by small, deep-green leaves with long stems, arugula is actually related to the radish and the flavour of its leaves is similarly zesty. And while its taste is enough to recommend it, arugula also garners praise for its nutritional profile. Like other leafy greens, it is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, folate, magnesium and potassium. Arugula is often paired with other salad greens to “balance out the taste” and pairs particularly well with mild lettuce like Boston. Simple dressings made with olive oil and balsamic vinegar highlight arugula’s assertive flavour. Similarly, too many ingredients can spoil an arugula salad—heirloom tomatoes, some shaved Parmesan, a good vinaigrette— that’s all you need. (Niche Modern Dining in James Bay hits the right note—their salad featuring heirloom tomatoes, goat cheese, arugula and olive oil is a particular favourite of mine.)

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— by Julie Pegg

Walla Walla Wander More than just a nose for onions.

I’m nosing my way along Route 2 toward Walla Walla. It’s June. Wet snow splats on the windshield at Steven’s Pass Summit. But as I head toward southeast Washington, the terrain is flushed with a rosy glow and the thermometer reads 72ºF. Meandering through the genteel town and past leafy grapevines, I arrive at Girasol Vineyard and Inn, my lodgings during Vintage Walla Walla, a two-day annual public event that gathers together chefs, winemakers and local ingredients. Walla Walla Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area) is part of the larger Columbia Valley region. Twelve hundred acres are under vine. Sporting hiking boots and raingear, I join Dr. Kevin Pogue’s Terroir Tour on Friday morning. The laid-back geologist kicks dirt, scratches rocks and explains in layperson’s terms the area’s geography, soils and climate. By lunch, we don’t need Dr. Pogue to explain the climate. The wind is blowing and the skies are opening up all over our Vineyard Lunch. But under tent and blankets we nosh on wild morel-studded dishes and local greens, artisanal cheeses and breads among Leonetti Cellar’s vines, completely ignoring the weather. After lunch I head for Vintage Pour, a walk-about tasting of more than 200 wines. I have expensive tastes. My favourite wine is the rather pricey Cayuse Syrah “Cailloux” from the rocky soils of French winemaker Christophe Baron. Close on its heels are the Abeja Chardonnay and Five Star Cellars Merlot. But, as is my wont, I don’t stay with the tour. Saturday morning I slip away to the farmers’ market at 4th and Main. The city’s historic downtown has been gracefully restored and its heritage buildings filled with cafés, shops and galleries. The market is substantial, about 100 vendors selling everything from organic produce (yes, there are onions) to fine art jewellery and granola. Soon I’m gushing over a Larzac from the Monteillet Fromagerie in nearby Dayton. The soft-ripened goat cheese has a line of vegetable ash in the middle made from grape leaves and vines. I also purchase packets of heritage tomato seeds (they flourished). Later I pop into Saffron Mediterranean Kitchen. So, it seems, do most of the area’s winemakers. For good reason. Kobe beef cheeks adorned with agrodolce eggplant and broccoli rabe along with housemade flatbread spiked with garlic, mushrooms and ricotta hit the jackpot. The Oasis Tavern, not far from Girasol, straddles, well, the Oregon border. The classic American dive features weak brew, good burgers and bad house bands. It’s also a winemakers’ hangout. As much as we wine geeks love fine food and wine, sometimes we all need a couple of Bud. Walla Walla is approximately three hours by car from Seattle. I-90 is the fastest route. Route 2 goes through the charming Bavarian town of Leavenworth, a good place to take a break or to overnight. Visit for info on events, lodgings, restaurants, wineries, etc.

THOUGHTS FROM A FISHER/CHEF This is the first year in the eighty-six year history of the International Pacific Halibut Commission that a chef’s association (The North Vancouver Island Chefs Association) has been represented and I had to explain my application to the Conference Board (made up of commercial fishermen, sports fishing organizations, community representatives, Tribal representatives, etc). I had to explain why our association should be given a seat and voting status. We now have a voice within the IPHC process as chefs. The next meeting is in January 2010 in Seattle and it would be great to send more representation next time and/ or perhaps a cooking demonstration. We are the end user of the resource and can speak on behalf of the population that never catch a halibut but enjoy consuming this beautiful fish in the restaurants, cooking schools, and businesses we work in. For more information on the IPHC see Wes Erikson is an active fourth generation commercial fisherman. He has fished for halibut, herring, salmon, rockfish, ling cod, skate and sable fish using long line, troll and gill net along the entire British Columbia coastline. Wes has been involved in the fisheries advisory process for over 20 years and has recently been a halibut representative on the Commercial Industry Caucus (CIC) implementing the pilot integrated ground fish strategy. Along with fishing Wes has owned operated and cooked in seafood restaurants for the last 16 years.

Ready to learn to

Cook like a Chef Thrifty Foods Cooking and Lifestyle Centre has demonstration and hands on classes taught by renowned local and international chefs. Learn to prepare delicious new dishes and dine on outstanding cuisine Visit /lifestyle for class details and to register Register today and be on your way to cooking like a chef

Thrifty Foods Tuscany Village is located at the intersection of Shelbourne and McKenzie, 1626 McKenzie Ave. MAY | JUNE 2009



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— By Gillie Easdon


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3189 Quadra St. Next to the Italian Bakery Call for reservations: 388-4517

Cucina Tradizionale Gastronomia Locale

The Best of Italy and Vancouver Island

Restaurants that grow Culinary Talent In Victoria’s's genealogy of restaurants, very few places serve as the training ground for entrepreneurial chefs. Time after time, the names behind new Victoria restaurants have moved around a familiar, circular map of kitchens. In this final chapter contributor Gillie Easdon gives the nod to a few last venues and then shares her last thoughts on her long journey through Victoria’s restaurant past. The Movie Buff Solution Lasqueti Island dwellers Howie Siegal and Allen di Fiori were hardcore movie buffs. They spent a lot of time in Victoria lapping up offerings from the silver screen but were frustrated that there was nowhere to go for a cheesecake and cappuccino after a nine o’clock show. Enter Pagliacci’s in 1979. Pag’s had taken over what was once The Red Swing. (This memorable establishment was known for the lady on the red swing who hung from the ceiling amid latticework, reams of crushed velvet and scores of plastic flowers.) Pagliacci’s soon became a hub of late-night groove and grub. There was live jazz and blues and a lap was as good as a seat. The food focus was and remains “dependable, good ingredients, real butter and large portions,” describes manager, Sorcha McEwan. Murphy’s Law From the raucous drink-slinging nest of Ravens between 1980 and ’82 (now the Harbour Towers), where bottles of wine were served in teapots, to the Murphempire, which has included Cecconi’s, Il Terrazzo, Pescatores, 5th Street, Hugo’s and Bon Rouge, Victoria’s Mike Murphy is big and bold all over town. Between 1988 and 2000, Cecconi’s sizzled. It had one of the first wood-burning ovens in town and was a hotbed of jazz talent, counting Diana Krall three years in a row among its hit list of guest musicians. In 1993, Murphy bought Pescatore’s from Harry de Zwager. Massive renovations ensued, and his only regret was the removal of the “huge abalone globes,” which seemed “a little much” at the time. In 1999, he opened 5th Street, and he was part owner of Hugo’s from 1999-2004, then known as “Strath West,” which used to house Capitol Steakhouse (then Sanuk, now closed). With more than just pride, Murphy reminisces: “Some very qualified people came over to show us how to do it and they left with their tails between their legs.” On competition in the city, Murphy maintains, “We’re on the same side. We’re like Vegas. If they have a nice time in three restaurants, they will come back.” Bivalve Bistro Ferris’ Grill has been serving locals and would-be locals (tourists who ask where we go) on Yates near Wharf for 17 years. Not one for advertising, Tom Ferris relies and has succeeded primarily on word of mouth “They don’t get here by accident,” he says. The restaurant was originally named Ferris’ Oyster and Burger Bar when it opened in 1991, but Ferris confides that he “was too afraid to just put ‘oyster’ in the name, so I put burger in there as well.” Ferris left Lake Louise to open Twist in (then became Bravo and is now Topo’s Ristorante Italiano). Next he opened Café Giovannini’s, which sold coffee wholesale long before Starbucks infested this fair city. Once Ferris’ was established and thriving, Tom Ferris opened Zombies Pizza (Now The Joint) in 1993 in the heyday of Harpo’s (insert sigh). The only places serving oysters in town in 1991 were Doubles and the Executive House. Why did Ferris go for oysters? Is he particularly fond of oysters? Ferris smirks and relays it was a business decision and that one “could get good at it very quickly.” The first menu was a single page (sans oyster burger until later). The present volume presents a range of selections to satisfy diverse palates with the ever-popular chicken penne soup, Cajun prawns and pan-fried oysters. In 2006, Ferris opened the upstairs and named it Ferris’ Oyster Bar and renamed the main restaurant Ferris’ Grill. He had found over the years that the word “bar” warded off potential customers, especially those with children.



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“Was it a burrito? Was it a roll?” Business partners Dano Lee and Chef Armanda Detorres fielded such questions when Tapa first opened its doors in May 1998 in Trounce Alley (where Vinsanto had been). Leagues from the concept and style of the Princess Mary, where Detorres spent three years, Tapa introduced tapa-style cuisine to Victoria. It was love at first sight; once Victoria nudged her brain around the concept. Robust favorites like the Prawns Coco and the Mussels Chachacha draw a wide demographic, dressed up or dressed down for “engagements and divorces.”

What does it say about this small, food-obsessed city surrounded by ocean, forest and farms? Boathouse to Landmark The Marina Restaurant’s history started at the turn of the last century when noted Victoria architect Samuel McClure designed the Oak Bay Boathouse in 1908 which operated for years as a seasonal marina serving hamburgers, doughnuts and coffee. The present marina was built in 1964 with a “closed-in bar, small dance floor and occasional live music,” says owner Bob Wright. Over the years, this space was leased out until 1994, when the Oak Bay Marine Group opted to take the proverbial helm. “I didn’t even know how to boil water, but it has run successfully ever since,” says Wright. The decor reflected the early planning stages of a renovation, with “paint cans as ice buckets, plywood boards for menus, loads of lumber stacked up, and paint-splattered bed sheets hanging on the windows.” Following an extensive study of some of the top restaurants in the United States, the Oak Bay Marine Group opted for a sushi bar (with long-time sushi great David Nakimaya) and a focus on fresh seafood as well as the ever-popular Sunday brunch. Jeff Keenliside, self-professed “navy brat” (said with a smile), has been at the helm of the Marina restaurant as executive chef since 2005. Following years of flipping burgers at Christie Carriage House and Maude Hunter’s, Keenliside had never envisioned himself committing to the culinary path. That is, until he apprenticed at the Aerie from 1995-1997, where he “opened his eyes to what the island was producing and what fine products there were.” From the Aerie he moved to Café Brio, where he enjoyed six years moving from sauces to sous-chef to chef between 1997 and 2003. Jeff moved his family to Tofino where he opened Shelter in the summer of 2003, (then continued on up to Whistler to open Après that winter. Thankfully, the Island got him back. He was hired as executive chef (and then also restaurant manager) for Fire and Water at the Marriott. Jeff finally found his home with the Marina. Keenliside, the a former vice-president of the Island Chefs’ Collaborative, says he has found greater flexibility and freedom to expedite menu shifts and enhancements here at the Marina compared to the hotel experience. And so, here we are back in 2008. My brief, meandering investigation of the DNA of Victoria’s restaurant scene had come to its end. What does it say about this small, food-obsessed city surrounded by ocean, forest and farms? I found it revealed an elaborate and labyrinthine matrix of people and cuisines that has been growing, developing and taking chances. I was struck when speaking to various members of Victoria’s restaurant industry how everyone spoke about the egoless support of one another’s ventures. And that this article represents only a few chapters of what has been happening over the past 30 years. There are trails that lead back to other old world countries and to far off Asian cuisines that I didn’t have time to follow. From sushi to pho, from moussaka to Dungeness crab with black bean sauce, Victoria is filled with culinary options and excellence I haven’t even touched on. We can go to Sri Lanka at Café Ceylon. Or we can venture into Dragon Alley and Mirjana Vukman’s concept “non-restaurant” for one of three gorgeous and succulent lunch selections or her private catering. We can go for authentic Ethiopian, Korean and Persian. Spin a globe and chances are you can dine within reach of where your index finger lands. This ever-evolving culinary DNA intertwines not only aromas, flavours and textures but people, dollars and, above all, a hell of a lot of sweat and hard work. With more than 400 restaurants right now, not to mention those bygone, that is a lot of dedication hard work and, most important, food. How fantastic and impressive. Thank you to those brave and driven souls. I tip my hat. I raise my glass. I grip knife and fork with a keen hunger and a zealous anticipation of the next branch to grow on Victoria’s food family tree.

Mother’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants. Don’t be disappointed. Book your favourite restaurant early. MAY | JUNE 2009



cated here fa quick death. shop. And de to stay busy d clientele. The Floyd’s ies that live o the Southsid at Pag’s and toria such as The food: I meal, then Flo bacon, avoca French toast butter and a l of perfect Fre the next morn pings that w about $25 w Service at fered to thos the hip, cater parent most Open seve

Ristorante La Piola | 3189 Quadra St., Victoria, B.C. | 250-388-4517


Rebecca Wellmam

very neighbourhood should have a great little restaurant, where the food is good but not pretentious, the ambience intimate but not too fancy and where the staff is friendly, attentive and will remember your name after a few visits. If you live in the Quadra/Finlayson area, you are fortunate because such a neighbourhood restaurant can be found there. La Piola is a Quadra Street newcomer located next door to the Italian Bakery. Recently chef Cory Pelan (ex of Arbutus Ridge Golf and Country Club in the Cowichan Valley and the Brentwood Bay Lodge) has taken over both the stoves and the management, refurbishing the room and giving the menu a makeover. The small, largely unadorned room seats about 48 diners at comfortably sized tables, has been freshly painted, the chairs re-glued and the place generally spruced up. The menu is small but not too small and features handmade pastas and pizzas along with rustic appetizer and main course Italian dishes. The well-thought-out wine list leans to moderately priced Italian with a few judiciously chosen B.C. estates such as a nice selection of older Sandhill Small Lots vintages. Pelan channels his inner Italian through seasonal dishes like Panzanella Di Carciofi Con Olio Di Tartufo (truffled artichoke bread salad with marinated wild mushrooms, premium olive oil and lemon juice) and Coniglio Alla Piemontese (braised Metchosin rabbit with soft polenta, olives, local vegetables and salsa verde). The results are worth the visit. The bread salad is a hearty starter of large chunks of Italian bread, brined long-stem artichoke hearts (sourced from Bosa Foods in Vancouver) and a variety of tiny marinated wild mushrooms tossed with good quality olive oil, lemon juice and a liberal amount of white truffle oil. Chefs have put truffle oil on hiatus recently, so it was again a pleasure to take in its earthy, near-sexual perfume. The dish was well-balanced and surprisingly light for such a satisfy- l: The grocery section of La Piola r: Coniglio Alla Piemontese ing dish. For some, this and a bowl of soup would suffice for a light dinner. Although winter is (thankfully) behind us, and the menu now offers different fare, I fondly recall this next dish from the end of the La Piola braise and stew season. Coniglio Alla Piemontese is a comforting rustic northern Italian recipe that takes a rabbit, parts it out into legs and breast, braises it in a hearty tomato sauce, then garnishes it with olives. Seeing rabbit on a local menu is unusual. Why it isn’t featured more often is baffling because a more sustainable and nutritious meat would be hard to find. Time to get over your squeamishness, Victoria, and give it a try. La Piola’s version is accompanied by soft polenta and a variety of locally sourced vegetables like salsify (a root vegetable with a hint of oyster flavour), which to my knowledge is grown commercially in B.C. only on Tom Henry’s farm in Metchosin. For dessert, a nice crème caramel served with cookies from next door and a round of strong espresso (and perhaps a little glass of grappa since you would walk home if you lived in the neighbourhood) is all you’ll need to finish the evening. —Gary Hynes


Eliza deals

Pig BBQ Joint | 304-1319 Sooke Rd., Colwood | 250-590-8034


Rebecca Wellman

ictoria squealed with glee when the Pig BBQ Joint came to town in 2007. Finally, a nook in which to get sloppy with a perfect pulled pork, pig sauce and slaw. And now, introducing Pig BBQ Joint in Colwood, where you can sit, sip a barbecue-friendly brew or two (including Bud Light, “a great barbecue beer!” quips Jeff Heatherington, owner/chef ) and feed on meat by the pound and slaw by the pint. The room, aptly gilded in pigaphernalia, is bright and picnic-tabled. He does all the smoking on-site for both this and the View Street location, so the quality of the food is not compromised at either venue. “I do it all myself.” Pig BBQ Joint Colwood also offers daily specials that may feature deep-fried wagon wheels or a “bacon explosion” (which involves weaving strips of bacon and must be seen to be believed.). As well, there are a few new additions to the menu such as ribs and fried chicken. Heatherington brines his chicken in buttermilk, and among the ingredients in the recipe of “12 not 11” different spices, we find rosemary, maple syrup and crème fraîche. Sometimes when junk food is made chi-chi, it loses an integral component of its initially appealing junkiness. Not so here—the batter was dense, crispy and savoury, and although the thigh was deep-fried, it imparted no off-putting ooze or oily glisten. The meat was tender, fried to perfection, juices still seeping from the flesh. The mustard-seeded slaw was not too sauced or too sweet, and it went down crunchily well with my basic family picnic iced tea. In the words of Jeff Heatherington himself, “Taste is good.” –Gillie Easdon

l: Chef/own roll, Bun B

Rebecca Wellman

Pho Vy | 77 Floyd’s Diner | 866 Yates St. | 250-381-5114 |

l: Fried chicken 10pc ... $21.00 r: These Pig hats are for sale! 16



n more than 20 years of wandering Canada’s geographical menu, looking for the extreme and the quirky in food and drink, I always come back to the diner for comfort and relaxation. And on the corner of Yates Street at Quadra is one of my favourites—Floyd’s Diner. It’s been four years since Floyd’s sprouted from a street corner more noted for notoriously brief food ventures than culinary anchors. Several Asian restaurants that lo-


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Elizabeth Smyth uncovers super deals around the city

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Rebecca Wellmam

cated here failed to attract more than a handful of regular tour buses and died a mercifully quick death. There was also a brief appearance of Ochre Grains just before Floyd’s set up shop. And despite my prediction at the time that it was a jinxed location, Floyd’s continued to stay busy day in, day out—delivering the food that brings in a steady brunch and lunch clientele. The Floyd’s menu is, for me, an amalgam of all the good things I enjoyed about the eighties that live on today in the 21st century: little bits of Pagliacci’s, Goodies, John’s Place and the Southside Diner. No surprise either since Floyd’s creator, Petr Prusa, learned the trade at Pag’s and has been involved in creating other successful comfort-food ventures in Victoria such as Cuppa Joe in James Bay. The food: If you think eggs, bacon, toast and sausages are fundamental sides in every meal, then Floyd’s is your place. My wife ordered a Benny called The American Idol: tomato, bacon, avocado and brie topped with herbed pesto and hollandaise sauce. Me: Jerry’s French toast was made with fresh sourdough bread drowned in an egg mix. Maple syrup, butter and a light flurry of baker’s sugar rounded out a flawless presentation. Six half-slices of perfect French toast and a side of local sausages left me with enough food for breakfast the next morning. Andrea’s Benny was perfect and as requested (soft centre eggs), with toppings that were imaginative but not overwhelming. Breakfast and beverages for two is about $25 with tip. Service at Floyd’s is solicitous without being ingratiating. Coffee, hot and fresh, is offered to those queued up for the short wait for a table. The staff, a blend of the young and the hip, caters to a roomful of plaid-clad millennial kids. And although I am old enough to parent most of Floyd’s customers, I feel young and at home. –Colin Newell Open seven days a week for an all-day breakfast or lunch.


Yo u b o u , C o w i c h a n L a k e , B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a 10524 You b ou R d | 250-745-3388 | w w w.youboubargr

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For a limited time.

tapas + wine nights

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Rebecca Wellman

-fried wagon and must be such as ribs mong the inple syrup and egral compoe, crispy and g ooze or oily the flesh. The crunchily well mself, “Taste

This spring, Executive Chef Dave Roger is proud to present a new tantalizing Tapas menu. Pair this with our specially priced $20 bottles of wine from our exclusive feature sheet available on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

l: Chef/owner Hiep Nguyen r: Goi Cuon Shrimp salad roll, Cha Gio – Spring roll, Bun Bo Hue – Spicy noodle soup

Pho Vy | 772 Fort St. | (250) 385-5516


hen Pho Vy opens at 11:00, it immediately fills with members of the Vietnamese community and downtown office workers, who come for a quick and simple meal for under $10. Even at my geeky dining time of 4:30 it was halffilled with downtown workers, students, and a few families with pre-schoolers. This restaurant is in the commonly said category of “cheap and cheerful,” and is under my category of “fast and fair for under $10.” On the appetizer menu, classic shrimp salad rolls for $5.95 have tender prawns and crisp lettuce, and come with a creamy peanut dipping sauce. On

728 Humboldt Street (in the Victoria Marriott) Tel: (250) 480-3828

* Special Tapas menu available daily, $20 bottles of select wine features are available on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 5pm to 10pm, May 1 – June 30, 2009 only. Minimum purchase of one Tapas order per person required in order to take advantage of the specially priced wine. Not valid with any other offer. Promotion subject to end without notice. MAY | JUNE 2009


the entrée menu for $9.75, lemongrass chicken with roasted peanuts and carmelized shallots is the most exotic offering. The chicken was very moist, with a crispy skin, and the lemongrass was a subtle flavor that emerged rather than announcing its presence – its flavor surfaces after swallowing the food, so take your time with this dish. Also $9.75, the barbecued pork and spring roll entrée had tasty pork flavoured with soy and green onions, and vegetable spring rolls which I found boring and in need of garlic or some other punchy flavor, but which my five-year-old, it must be said, really enjoyed. In fact, all the dishes were very convenient for families dining with small children as almost all could be finger food: salad rolls are fun to dip, all the meat was sliced up, the carrot and cucumber garnishes were julienne-cut, and the pork came with noodles that are ever-popular with the Dora the Explorer set. This could be a useful restaurant training ground for your budding foodie!

son can dine tions under t “Dinner Spec soup – an en curry platter – ramekins wit etable jalfraz red butter ch dark, rich, an $15.95 had s bharta. The “ dessert. This twist, and to $21.95, as it padums and group keepin the vegetaria ate that Da T than all plop the care the r


EAT staff for eking Rebecca Wellman

Derek Lucas (self proclaimed coffee geek) with a poached egg asparagus muffin. The green coffee is a maccha green tea latte.

Emile Henry Collection

Buon Amici | Unit 110-645 Tyee Road | (250) 381-4504


ho knew that breakfast at Buon Amici would precipitate my first ever call to McDonald’s Restaurant? Why? To price Egg McMuffins and thereby find out just how foolish people are when they buy one for $2.99 when they could instead enjoy a Poached Egg Asparagus Muffin on a moist, pleasantly chewy flax and wholewheat English muffin for just $4.25 at Buon Amici’s. Or they could enjoy the tomato version. Or the classic with bacon. Another delicious and balanced breakfast is the Flax Multigrain Breakfast Pita for $5.50. This pita is a soft bread (not dry cardboard like you get at some grocery stores) wrapped around a rich mixture of free-range scrambled eggs, cream cheese, and cheddar cheese, seasoned with just a hint of chipotle mayonnaise, and it’s a robust start to the day for $5.50. The unbeatable combination of bacon, fluffy scrambled eggs, and cream cheese also comes together in the breakfast butter croissant for $5.55. You can expect a luxurious latte or cappuccino with your affordable breakfast; the hands-on owner Derek Lucas won the Western Canadian Barista Championship in 2007, and that standard of excellence shows in the coffees. If the café is quiet, staff will even pour your latte at your table, easing the milk into your espresso, whisking it gently, deftly creating an impressionistic work of art in your cup – very dramatic. This café opens at 5:00 am, and so serves many breakfasts, but it also offers delicious lunch sandwiches such as the Roman grilled sandwich on foccacia, which includes a green olive tapenade, and a dream-worthy croissant stuffed with oven-roasted chicken, sundried tomatoes, goat cheese, lettuce, and pine nuts.

Da Tandoor | 1010 Fort St. near Vancouver | (250) 384-6333

Muscade available as special order. VICTORIA, 1437 Store St 250 382-3201 SIDNEY, 2389 Beacon Ave. 250 656-0011




t’s torture that Da Tandoor only opens for dinner. The smells of garlic, onions, and ginger waft over the block on Fort from Vancouver to Quadra all afternoon; I’ve even smelled their curries simmering from as far away as View Street. Following the aroma takes you into the embrace of the comfortable restaurant with deep red fabrics and ornate wooden screens. For all its sensuality, Da Tandoor also offers up a practicality that I very much appreciate – they set up their menu so that as well as sharing with a group, a per-


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son can dine alone and still get the full experience of trying several curries. Six different options under the “Special Combinations” make this easy. For instance, for $21.95 I had the “Dinner Special” (their nomenclature is clear but unexciting!). First came a Mulligatawny soup – an enticing golden brown sea of lentils flecked with green onion. Then came the curry platter – a leg of crisply coated, red tandoori chicken, a mound of pillau rice, and four ramekins with rich and varied curries: channa, a chickpea, onion, and cumin blend; vegetable jalfrazie, which is mixed vegetables lightly seasoned with onions and garlic; a dark red butter chicken with a toasted tomato flavor; and finally the lamb curry, that tasted as dark, rich, and complex as the drippings from a roasting pan. The “Vegetarian Special” for $15.95 had some of the same curries, as well as a creamy green lentil dal and eggplant bharta. The “Dinner Special” then had the added bonus of a coffee or chai and kheer for dessert. This basmati rice pudding is accented with green cardamoms, which add a savory twist, and topped with pistachio nuts and coconut. This three-course meal is a deal for $21.95, as it was big enough that I took food home, and it didn’t even count the free pappadums and chutneys that came as an amuse-bouche before our order was even taken. A group keeping a close eye on their budget would also do well by ordering exclusively off the vegetarian menu, as no dish there costs more than $10.95. As a final touch, I appreciate that Da Tandoor sends your leftover curries home in separate small containers rather than all plopped together into a bigger dish with rice. It is these small touches that show the care the restaurant takes.


conomic hard times or not, I haven’t exactly been rolling in the dough since I graduated from university. One adventure after another called, and by the time I’d completed my post-grad dabbles in photography school, farming internships, freelance writing and more, I’d accumulated a rich surfeit of life experience that left me light in the purse. With the financial crisis howling like a wolf at the door, my poor-as-achurch-mouse status has dropped to poor-as-a-church-mouse’s-country-cousin. Now more than ever, I’m fine-tuning that human necessity to eke out a few simple gastronomic luxuries no matter how barren my pockets. And how exactly to do this when I finds myself living in Canada’s most expensive city in the depths of an economic downturn? One word: coffee. Victoria is rich in many things—beauty, eateries, retirees, rain. But my hands-down favourite Victorian asset is its coffee. Not since I backpacked through Europe on a very short shoestring have I sipped espresso so sublimely. I recently corresponded with a friend visiting Rome and asked him where his best cup of coffee had been thus far. “Caffe Fantastico, Cook Street Village,” he responded in all seriousness. I dropped that letter and pedalled to my favourite haunt to bask in the sunshine of the backyard patio with a perfect little white cup in my hand, thanking the coffee gods I’d landed myself—after much wandering—in a Canadian city that gets coffee right, and how. Two or three bucks for the scent of earthy, chocolatey beans recently roasted, paired perfectly with creamy, slightly sweet, local whole milk, and the warm, casual banter of the savvy, just-cool-enough baristas is a steal. I can really nurse a latte (even though I only ever order the compact six-ounce), lingering over a cup for half an hour, maybe more, and that time is all mine. In a sip, I’m transported. I feel the thrill of that singularly grownup pleasure of truly loving a potent and bitter taste. I find myself straightening my posture and readjusting my dishevelled scarf as I recall studying sophisticated French women in their Parisian cafés (they always looked so flawless, mysterious and astonishingly content as they sipped their café au laits). I remember surviving on thick, dark coffee with a side of fried eggs and beans while exploring Costa Rica. How my travelling companion and I would make any excuse to stop for a coffee to perk us up in the heat. For a couple colónes, we were refreshed and given the opportunity to reflect, observe the locals and taste our new surroundings. These are hard times, and if you were already penny-pinching, they can feel even harder. But some of the best things in life truly are free: a good sun shower, the company of old friends, your favourite record. It’s good to know that for a mere two dollars and fifty cents more, one can be elevated to a mood of luxuriousness and indulgence. The taste of excellent coffee is, to me at least, the taste of an ancient tradition steeped in culture, and that spicy, earthy aroma smacks of exotic corners of the globe I dream about exploring. It is these little luxuries that make us feel rich even when we’re not. As long as I can occasionally afford a good cup of coffee, I’ll consider myself well off.

Spring has Sprung 3 courses for $33

waterfront restaurant + patio Floor-to-ceiling views of Victoria’s sparkling Inner Harbour t West Coast Pacific Rim-inspired cuisine t Sunday brunch t Large waterfront patio t Gold medal chefs 680 MONTREAL STREET t VICTORIA BC CANADA V8V 1Z8 T 250.414.6739 TF 1.800.663.7667 t WWW.AURARESTAURANT.CA

Recommended local cafés: Discovery Café, Caffe Fantastico, Miziro Café for superior beans. MAY | JUNE 2009



The Right Rice

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Andrew Wong of Wild Rice, Gennaro Iorio of La Terrazza and Meeru Dhalwala of Vij’s discuss this venerable cross-cultural grain that feeds more than half the world’s population. By Julie Pegg



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istorical accounts on rice sway wildly, but most agree on China and 5000 BC as its birthplace and date of cultivation. Rice-growing spread to all continents except Antarctica, settling in regions hot and wet enough to accommodate it. It took some time, however, for the grains to trickle down. Africa has been cultivating rice for about 3,500 years, but Japan didn’t adopt the practice until 300 BC. In Europe, the Moors brought rice to the Iberian Peninsula in the 10th century while Italy somehow didn’t discover rice’s charms until the 15th, where it flourished in the Po Valley. Some accounts suggest that rice reached the U.S. via a shipwreck off the South Carolina coast in 1694. The captain thanked the colonists who repaired the vessel with sacks of rice. No longer grown in the Carolinas, the main rice states are Mississippi, California and Texas. The famous red rice of Camargue did not reach the Rhône Delta of France until World War II, where it was cultivated to address food shortages. North America’s native wild rice isn’t strictly speaking rice but a long-grain marsh grass. Rice comes short, medium or long-grained. White rice, stripped of its husk and bran, polished and pumped up with vitamins, is the Wonder bread of rice. Fragrant long-grained jasmine and basmati play beautifully in Asian and Indian cuisine. Brown rice, hulled, bran still in tact, contains more nutrients. Sushi rice is short-grained and sticky. I chatted with Andrew Wong, owner of Wild Rice, over congee and La Terrazza executive



chef Gennaro Iorio over risotto, two iconic rice dishes. Congee defines comfort food. “My grandmother always had a pot on the burner,” says Wong, “For anytime we needed a soothing restorative. And she used only jasmine rice. So do I.” Wong sets a pottery bowl brimming with steaming congee before me. But what a makeover. The usual white-rice-and-chicken-stock porridge has become a perfumed rice and soy-scented soup, studded with prawns, garnished with three crunchy won tons and a smattering of cilantro. It owes its silky rich texture to water that’s been boiled for sushi rice (“I really don’t like cornstarch thickening”). Chef Gennaro Iorio whips up fresh crab and asparagus risotto in 17 minutes flat. He prefers super-starchy carnaroli over the more familiar arborio and pricier vialone nano. Inorio refuses to make risotto in large quantities, believing flavour and consistency suffer. “You can choose your rice, stir vigorously or not at all, go for brothy or creamy—but it must be made à la minute in small batches and the rice remain al dente.” Iorio’s dish is perfect—lightly brothy, with just the right “tooth.” “Basmati has to be from Himalaya.” About that chef-owner Meeru Dhalwala (with husband Vikram) of Vij’s and Rangoli makes no bones. “We source local but never rice. The California and Texas stuff just makes goop. It’s too starchy and lacks fragrance.” End stop. CONT’D ON THE NEXT PAGE

Tracey Kusiewicz

left to right: Andrew Wong @ Wild rice with Thai jasmine rice; Gennaro Iorio @ La Terrazza with Carnaroli rice and his fresh crab and asparagus risotto; Meeru Dhalwala @ Rangoli with Himalayan basmati rice


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All this talk about rice reminds me of kedgeree. When I was a child, my mother often served this Anglo-Indian rice dish, which was a breakfast favourite among British colonials during the Raj. To the rice is added smoked haddock (a Scottish influence), hard-cooked eggs, a dash of curry—and sometimes cream. I source basmati (Himalayan, of course!), free-range eggs, smoked sablefish and quality curry powder (or turmeric). Like Andrew Wong’s congee, kedgeree’s makeover makes it suitable for my dining table and a lovely partner for Riesling or Gewürztraminer. As I sample it, I realize I’ve developed a whole new regard for this ancient and venerable grain. NOTE: Google kedgeree + recipes for wonderful versions of this dish from noted British chefs Gordon Ramsey, Jamie Oliver, Delia Smith and Sophie Grigson.

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The folks at UBC Farm are tending a precious legacy— the only working farmland in the city of Vancouver.

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Farm Team

Amy Frye toodles the campus delivering UBC Farm free-range eggs to Agora and Sprouts, student-run organic cafés/stores. The golden-yoked jumbos don’t last. Students snap them up. Café cooks crack them into dark-chocolate brownie mix and cookie dough. Mid-winter, eggs are the Farm’s only harvest and most get sold on campus.

Tracey Kusiewicz

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rom June through late October, though, city folk flock to UBC Farm for as many as 250 varieties of just-picked vegetables, herbs, flowers and small fruits. The Farm, occupying 24 hectares on the south campus, is bound by forest that acts as a wind buffer and natural eco-system. The land is the city of Vancouver’s only working farm. “It is not a garden,” Amy firmly points out. Amy Frye is the Farm’s market coordinator, born and raised in Minnesota (near her grandparents’ farm) with a master’s degree in Resource Management/Environmental Studies. The twenty-something TA also teaches a course called Land, Food, and Community. Amy, along with other farm staff, diverse faculties and the wider community, are as busy as the farm’s bees promoting the seed-to-plate experience—planning, planting, educating, conducting school tours and program coordinating. For example, engineering students constructed “speed bumps”—irrigation pipes that won’t burst when run over by a truck. And Stacy Friedman (Faculty of Education) organizes the kids’ summer camp (FarmWonders) and Landed Learning intergenerational programs. Each year, full-time farm employee Elaine Spearing shows 10 apprenticing farmers the lay of the land. Gary King of Hazelmere Organic Farm, supplier of produce to, and friend of, John Bishop, heads up a steering committee that assists and advises staff on organic farming. It’s not uncommon to find Bishop, the crew from Cru, Provençal, Sage Bistro and other eco-conscious restaurateurs milling about on market day. Over the last months, the whole lot have been lobbying to prevent UBC Farm from becoming a housing development. The joint effort to save the farm looks promising—Vancouver Feast of Fields was recently OKed for autumn 2009. Maybe it is possible to put all your eggs in one basket. Click on UBC Farms’ superb website ( for all programs, including the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box program. You can even get married on the farm. —by Julie Pegg MAY | JUNE 2009


Au Pet

The Quest: The $20 Dinner C

Au Petit Chavignol

Where to wine and dine (without electronic din) for a couple of tenners.



Tracey Kusiewicz

Tracey Kusiewicz

an Vancouverites dine decently for a twenty plus a pocket full of change to cover tax and tip? Lunch? No problem. At Fuel it will get you silky cauliflower soup, a lamb sandwich, and beer or wine; Quattro has its ten-buck pastas. But where can you go to later—after shopping, post-theatre or before a movie or book club? Or just to kick back of an evening for a bite and a brew without the blare and glare of a large flat screen? When two of my favourite hotel bars, Bacchus Piano Lounge (Wedgwood) and 900 West (Hotel Vancouver), opted for a giant HD TV, they lost me. I searched elsewhere for a good affordable bite and a bevvy. If you’d rather look out on English Bay, than guys with sticks, head to the ivy-covered Sylvia Hotel. The Vancouver landmark (built in 1912) dishes up homemade burgers and beer-battered cod and chips for around a tenner. Tack on another sawbuck for a brew or glass of house vino with tax. The Sylvia Caesar is a meal in itself—Citron Absolut vodka, Clamato juice, horseradish, Tabasco and Worchestershire, with a prawn, an olive, lemon and pickled bean. No cellphones allowed in dining room. Cheers! At Rodney’s Oyster House, four beautiful briny bivalves divest you of ten bucks. The brew of the day clocks in about six bucks, a couple of the wines (a mini-tumbler filled to the brim) are available for around eight. The thick slab of grainy bread fills the tummy. The place is fun, the buzz palpable. Service is LA BODEGA: gambas: shrimp and patatas bravas informal, polite and prompt. (potatoes) with sangria I love that Rangoli, VikramVij’s casual sibling, now stays open until 10 p.m. Savour black chickpea, pea and onion cakes in spicy coconut curry with veggie-rice pilaf for $12.50. Or pulled pork with chutney and chapati for $13. Sip a Joie un-oaked Chard or a Propellor ESB and you’ll squeak in under 20. La Bodega has long been a favourite place at which to saddle up to the bar after a wine tasting, a movie or an afternoon of retail therapy. Best to order “El Campo” tapas—traditional little dishes that go for well under $10. Zesty patatas bravas are tastier than those I’ve had in Spain or at Laiola’s, San Francisco’s trendy tapas bar. Gambas arrive sizzling in olive oil. You’ll need extra pan (bread) to mop up the oil. Pisto Andaluz, the Spanish version of ratatouille, is de rigueur for me—and a glass of sangria, of course. —by Julie Pegg




above: Tartiflette au Petit Chavignol & picpoul de pinet.


n March 12 at 5 p.m., the doors of Au Petit Chavignol were unlocked. By 5:30, the house was packed. Alice and Allison Spurell (and Joe Chaput, Allison’s husband) had kept their promise. They had opened in time for Dining Out for Life. The mother-and-daughter team converted us all to cheeseheads with Les Amis du Fromage a dozen years back. Says Alice. “It followed that we would serve cheese and wine, but we were not about to take that step until we could have our own restaurant. Chaput further adds, “2nd Avenue no longer had room for bringing out all our cheeses, either. We had to expand.” After a two-year search, Joe purchased a one-time military structure at 843 E. Hastings in East Vancouver’s historic Strathcona neighbourhood. The building houses the tripled-in-size Les Amis headquarters, the 35-seat Au Petit Chavignol, and what Alice refers to as the wine and cheese bar. CONT’D ON THE NEXT PAGE

843 E. Hasting Thurs-Mon. 5


Fresh, adventurous and seasonal cuisine ~ Affordable wines with a focus on BC ~ Award-winning desserts by sister pâtisserie, Sweet Obsession Cakes & Pastries

Zagat-rated for Top Eclectic Cuisine Proud member of OCEAN WISE, a Vancouver Aquarium conservation program

2603 West 16th Ave, Vancouver | Tel 604 739 0555 ext. 1 |



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John Shields of Victoria’s Sculpin Fish Design (Prima Strada Pizzeria, Cook Street Village) designed both retail space and restaurant. Late afternoon rays spill through Au Petit’s floor-to-ceiling windows. Warm red and dark gray wear well on the structure’s handsome 1923 bones. Upholstered banquette, curved-back bar stools and chairs are, thank God, comfy. Little grottoes along the east wall display Belgian beer glasses and whitewashed Crown preserving jars. Joe’s new favourite toy is the vintage-style Berkel meat slicer. CREW Alice, Allison and Joe head up a small but expert team. GM Annette Rawlinson (Premier Crew Award winner, long-time “C” maitresse d’) brings grace and good humour. Chef Owen Lightly lured himself away from Loden and chef Brad Miller spent five years at Pastisse. Servers Naomi and Ingala know how to pace service. Au Petit Chavignol is what professional looks like. Cheese and wine, naturally, are at the menu core. Confine your choices to COOKING a flight of three cheeses and a plate of charcuterie or a house-made pâté. Or opt for a tasting platter (small or grand), which has a selection of both. We welcome back the Swiss classics—velvety fondue and oozy raclette. Croques monsieur and madame sandwiches exude cheese, ham and béchamel sauce. (Madame is monsieur with an egg on top.) A generous round of Reblochon melts into a casserole of fingerling spuds, lardoons and onions. This marvel is called tartiflette. Butter lettuce and watercress salads give a nod to green. MUST HAVES Cold: the tasting platter. (Ours was a selection of gamey Dutch chevrette, tart Robiola Tri Latti and salty Tomme Corsu Vecchiu cheeses, an assortment of shaved fig and chestnut salami, Iberico ham and Bundnerfleisch, livened up with Marcona almonds, spicy Lucques olives and grainy mustard. Hot: Tartiflette or one of the croques. Aperitifs: Chateau Guynot Pineau des Charentes. For creamier cheeses? FloDRINK ral, fruit-driven Chateau Pesquie Viognier. Crumbly cheeses? Rough, tough Chateau Bouscasse Madiran. By the bottle? Picpoul de Pinet (most unusual white) or Paul Mas Gres Romanis (best value red). CHARACTER

843 E. Hastings│604-255-4218 │ or Thurs-Mon. 5 p.m.-midnight; no reservations —by Julie Pegg

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Kitchen Spring Seafood Recipes and food styling by NATHAN FONG Photography by TRACEY KUSIEWICZ

On the coast, vernal harvests come from the sea as well as from land. Springtime on the west coast doesn’t just mean asparagus, fiddleheads and lamb. It also heralds the “first-of-the-season” fresh halibut and spot prawns. Fresh and live spot prawns are available during the harvest season starting in May and lasting for only about 80 days. These succulent sweet prawns are the largest of the seven commercial species found off our west coast. Fresh B.C. halibut is available from about April to the middle of November. This popular fish, revered for its firm white flesh, is lean, mild-tasting and adapts to various cooking methods. Here are some of my favourite halibut and spot prawns dishes, perfect for late spring when the catch is at its best. Seared Halibut Cheek Hash I love halibut fillets but even better are halibut cheeks. These delicate morsels are somewhat firmer in texture, similar to that of a scallop. This wonderful recipe is from chef Wayne Martin, executive chef and owner of Vancouver’s Crave restaurants and the new Fraîche Restaurant, perched on a mountainside slope of West Vancouver. Serves 6.

and add the remaining 1 Tbsp butter and cook for another 2 minutes or until the cheeks are golden brown and medium rare. Cook only the one side. To plate, divide the potato hash equally onto four plates and place the halibut cheeks over top. For an alternative, add a soft poached egg alongside the seared halibut cheek.

Baked Crispy Halibut

2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice 3 Tbsp olive oil 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped 3 Tbsp butter 1/4 cup red pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice 2 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped 1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped 2 Tbsp Italian parsley, finely chopped 1/4 cup green onions, cut into 1/4-inch dice 1/2 cup prosciutto ham in 1/4-inch julienne Six 3- to 4-oz halibut cheeks Kosher salt to taste Freshly ground white pepper

“A little bit cheeky and a whole lot good,” according to executive chef and cookbook author Karen Barnaby, whose alternative to deep-frying fish is coating it with crushed potato chips! “One of the best things about this (besides eating it) is squishing the bag of potato chips to turn them into crumbs!” This is one of the most requested recipes at the Fish House in Stanley Park, where Karen has been executive chef for nearly 15 years. Serves 6.

Fill a medium pot with salted water and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes, reduce to medium heat and cook for about 4 minutes or until potatoes are firm to the bite. Remove and cool. For the hash, bring a heavy-bottomed sauté pan to medium-high heat and add 2 Tbsp of the olive oil. Add the onions (but not green onions) and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes or until they begin to brown. Add the potatoes and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes or until they start to brown. Add 2 tablespoon of the butter and continue to sauté and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until brown. Add the red peppers and allow to warm through. Add the freshly chopped herbs, green onions and the julienne prosciutto. Season to taste and set aside. To prepare the halibut cheeks, bring a non-stick sauté pan to high heat and add the remaining olive oil. Season the halibut cheeks and sear in the hot pan; cook about 2 minutes

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Combine the mayonnaise, mustard, garlic powder and lemon juice in a shallow bowl. Mix well. Coarsely crush the potato chips by squashing them in the bag. Add the panko and shake well. Spread out onto a plate. Dip the halibut fillets into the mayonnaise mixture, coating them on all sides. Dip all the sides into the potato chip mixture, patting gently to help the coating adhere. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the halibut is cooked through and the crust is golden brown. Serve with lemon wedges, cocktail sauce or malt vinegar.

1/2 cup prepared mayonnaise 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard 1/4 tsp garlic powder 1 1/4 tsp lemon juice One 3.5-oz (100-g) bag plain potato chips 1 cup (250 mL) panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) Six 6-oz halibut fillets




Cantonese-styled Poached Halibut urprise someone with a getaway to Victoria’s distinguished 5-star heritage boutique B&B

Enjoy elegantly appointed guestrooms featuring jetted soaker baths and wood-burning fireplaces Includes evening appetizers & gourmet breakfasts, parking, local calls, internet service, coffee & tea 24 hours/day. Special hotel rates for event participants. Event details at

This classic Cantonese Chinese preparation of fresh fish is traditionally used with rock cod. It’s probably the easiest way I know how to cook fresh fish, and it’s also my favourite, particularly with salmon and halibut. Simple and quick, just be careful when pouring the hot oil to finish the dish. Poaching liquid: 3 litres cold water 12 sprigs cilantro, torn One 1-inch piece fresh ginger, smashed 2 garlic cloves, peeled 4 green onions, rinsed and cut into thirds 3 Tbsp vegetable oil 2 tsp salt 3 tsp sugar 2 Tbsp Chinese rice wine or gin 1 1/2 to 2 pounds halibut fillet, about 1-inch thick

906 McClure Street, Victoria 1-800-561-6565

Sauce: 2 Tbsp light soy sauce 1 Tbsp dark soy sauce 2 tsp sugar 1 Tbsp dry sherry 2 Tbsp vegetable oil 2 Tbsp fine julienned ginger 3 green onions, cut into thin julienne, 2-inch segments Cilantro sprigs In a fish poacher or large Dutch oven, bring the water to a boil and add the poaching liquid ingredients. Simmer for 5 minutes, then bring to a boil. Place the halibut in the liquid, cover and turn off heat immediately. Allow to rest 10 to 12 minutes for medium rare. For well done, allow the fillet to poach in the boiling liquid, covered, for a further 3 to 5 minutes. While the fish is poaching, mix together all the sauce ingredients, except for the oil, ginger, green onions and cilantro. When cooked, carefully transfer the fish from the liquid to a clean dishtowel, to drain, then to a heated serving platter. Warm the sauce ingredients in a saucepan. Pour the sauce over the fish, scatter the ginger, green onions and cilantro over the fish. Meanwhile, heat a small heavy-bottomed saucepan over high heat, add the 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil and heat until a wisp of white smoke appears. Carefully pour the hot oil over the fish.

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Drunken Spot Prawns This classic style of shrimp is found all over the east coast of China, from Hong Kong in the South, to Shanghai and even Taiwan in the North. (In British Columbia use BC spot prawns) Traditionally the potent Chinese spirit Mei Kuei Lu Chiew is used, an over-proof alcohol. Gin makes a great substitute. Some people may feel squeamish about seeing the live shrimp jump around, but sweet succulence of the meat makes it worth it. Serves 4 to 5. 24 medium to large shrimp, preferably live 2/3 cup Mei Kuei Lu Chiew or gin Dipping sauce: 2 to 3 Tbsp soy sauce 2 fresh Thai chilies, thinly sliced 2 Tbsp Chinese white rice vinegar or distilled vinegar 2 tsp sesame oil 1 tsp sugar 1 1/2 Tbsp finely sliced green onions 1 Tbsp coarsely chopped cilantro Run cold water over the shrimp, drain and pat dry with paper towels. Place shrimp in bowl and pour in 6 Tbsp of Mei Kuei Lu Chiew or gin, allow the shrimp to become “drunk,” about 15 to 20 minutes. Initially they will flip about, so cover with a bowl; they will become still after awhile. If not using “live” shrimp, rinse and dry shrimp, place in a bowl, add 6 Tbsp of the alcohol and allow to marinate for 20 minutes. Mix together sauce ingredients and set aside. Heat the wok over high heat. When hot, add the remaining alcohol and coat the wok with



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it using a spatula. When alcohol is hot, ignite with a match and add the shrimp and wine marinade, and cook stir-frying until the shrimp turn pink, about 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a heated dish and serve with dipping sauce. If you’re squeamish about seeing the shrimp flip around, add them to a steamer, cover and cook 5 to 7 minutes, or until cooked. Remove and serve with the dipping sauce.

Singaporean-styled Chili Spot Prawns Singaporeans love their seafood! This is traditionally made with crab and is certainly one of the country’s unofficial national dishes as it is served everywhere from the hawker stalls to the numerous seafood restaurants that flood the city. Every restaurant has live seafood tanks filled with assorted fish and shellfish from around the globe. On a recent visit I was amazed to find our local Dungeness crab and geoduck in many of the tanks. Although recipes have changed throughout the times, chili crab today has several different incarnations. The sauce can be sweet, tart and ketchuppy; slicked with chili oil; thickened with beaten eggs; grainy with onions and chopped peanuts; or even made with orange juice. One thing is constant: in Singapore, chili crab is usually made with Sri Lankan green crabs (recognizable by their hard, fluted, scalloped shell and dense succulent meat). They must be meaty and impeccably fresh. Our local spot prawns fair well in this famed dish. Serves 4.

poaching liqin the liquid, rare. For well 5 minutes. or the oil, gin-

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24 medium to large fresh, local spot prawns, shell on 5 Tbsp vegetable oil 1 large onion, sliced 8 cloves garlic, finely minced 2 Tbsp grated ginger 5 to 6 Tbsp hot chili sauce 4 Tbsp tomato ketchup 1 tsp salt 1 tsp sugar 1 1/4 cups water Baguette slices, to serve Snip off sharp feelers and antennae from the spot prawns. Heat oil in a wok over high heat and stir-fry sliced onions until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and fry 1 to 2 minutes more or until fragrant. Add shrimp and stir-fry for 5 minutes until they turn bright pink. Add remaining ingredients and stir for 1 to 3 minutes more or until the sauce has thickened to coat the shrimp. Serve with chunks of baguette to mop up the sauce.

1 0 0 % O R G A N I C | FA I R T R A D E | L O C A L LY OW N E D & O P E R AT E D

Jasmine Green TeaLemonade This refreshing and sophisticated drink is the perfect accompaniment to Asian-inspired cuisine. It’s also rich in antioxidants, and jasmine uplifts and rejuvenates the mind. Pour 2 cups hot water (brought just to the boil) over 2 tbsp. Moonlight on the Grove—Silk Road Jasmine Green Tea. Steep 3 min. and strain into a heatproof jug. Refrigerate until cold, then combine with 2 cups chilled lemonade. Makes 1 litre. For more delicious recipe ideas, visit or attend one of our tea workshops at the Silk Road Tea Tasting Bar. 1624 Government St. Victoria Chinatown

Stir-fried Spot Prawns with Mango and Basil Serves 4.

g Kong in the spot prawns) roof alcohol. eing the live rves 4 to 5.

1 Tbsp vegetable oil 2 Tbsp chopped fresh ginger 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 small onion, coarsely chopped 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded, minced 1 to 1 1/2 lbs fresh spot prawns, headed and deveined 1 mango (slightly underripe), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice 1 Tbsp light soy sauce 1/2 cup chopped Thai basil 1 tsp sesame oil Green onions, chopped Heat the oil over high heat in a wok. When hot, add the ginger, garlic, onion and jalapeño; stir-fry for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the prawns and stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes or until pink. Add the mango, soy sauce and basil and cook for 1 minute or until leaves wilt. Stir in sesame oil and green onions and serve.

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Cocktail accessories in Sterling Silver

WHERE TO BUY BC SPOT PRAWNS Thrifty Foods 18 locations on Vancouver Island, Saltspring and the Lower Mainland Finest At Sea 27 Erie Street, Victoria; 4675 Arbutus Street, Vancouver Granville Island Public Market Vancouver *Watch for announcements for this year’s Spot Prawn Festival which runs for 6-8 weeks and takes place at False Creek Fishermen’ Wharf, Vancouver

Jewellery Designs © 2009 IDAR




Fryer Power

Tuna Tapas Trio: Jerk Rubbed Tuna Toasta w Black bean Mango Salsa; Tuna Ceviche w Roasted Corn Salsa & Blue Crab served with Saffron Red Pepper Sauce; Southwest Seared Tuna w Black Rice & Serrano Mango Sauce. inset: Chef Tod Bosence

CUISINE 1210 Broad St., 250.388.9906

Hotel Rialto – a Preview As this is going to press, the construction crews are still busy transforming the old Hotel Douggie lobby and cafe into Hotel Rialto’s twin eateries – Veneto and Brevé.

O Proud supporter of local farms, wineries & ocean wise fisheries

ph 250.592.7424

2524 Estevan Avenue | Victoria Tuesday ~ Saturday | from 5pm |




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Fifteen Skillets Seasoned Ready to use



ne of Victoria’s oldest hotels, the Rialto (formerly Hotel Douglas) is undergoing a years-long extreme makeover, transforming the rundown property into a modern boutique hotel. Built in 1911 by prominent business merchant Lim Bang, the building, originally known as the Prince George, was home to several businesses before becoming the Hotel Douglas in 1918, one of the most prestigious hotels in Victoria. The following 89 years took its toll on the landmark hotel, and when Italian immigrant Danilo Danzo purchased the site in 2002, he decided to restore it to its original grandeur. Along with the renovation, the hotel has been renamed the Hotel Rialto, paying tribute to Danzo’s Italian heritage and the design inspiration for the hotel. “We felt that a name change was appropriate because The Hotel Rialto is such a departure from its predecessor,” says GM Margaret Lucas. Phase I, to be completed by May 1, 2009, involves the renovation of 30 rooms. New fixtures, window treatments, linens and luxurious duvets, pillow-top mattresses, 40” flat-screen TVs, i-Home entertainment systems and in-room wine bar are just some of the guest room features. The main hotel lobby has also undergone a major redesign including sprawling marble floors, fresco walls, and exotic hardwoods. Veneto and Brevé are part of the phase I opening in May (the wine & spirits store, Vintage Sprits, is already open – see Pandora Story pg. 46). Brevé Bistro will be open for breakfast, lunch, and after a short break at 4pm, dinner. Daytime options will be mainly take-away fare, catering to the office crowd, while nighttime will see the space transform into a candle-lit and tableclothed 35 seat bistro. Veneto Tapa Lounge will be open from 4pm-late, and will serve spirited small plate triads, wine flights and cocktails. Chef Tod Bosence’s talents were honed at Bear Mountain and Olympic View Golf Course, and his feisty, Creole-kissed, contemporary food will be a good match for the dramatic Veneto. 1450 Douglas St. | Victoria | (250) 383-7310 | —by Treve Ring


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GET FRESH — by Sylvia Weinstock

What’s in Season Haricot verts are particularly slender green string beans. String beans are so-called because they originally had tough strings running down the seams of their pods. This fibrous string has since been bred out of the species, making the pod and its tiny enclosed seeds entirely soft and edible. The peak season for haricot verts begins in May. The green parts of spring onions resemble green onions; their white bulbs are the size of tennis balls. In Creole and Cajun cookery, the term “spring onion” refers to a baby shallot, i.e. the shoots and bulb of the shallot before it matures. Scallions are an onion variety that includes shallots, leeks and white onions. The word “scallions” can also refer to green onions. Sugar snap peas are a deliciously sweet pea variety that has crisp pods. These entirely edible spring delights are a cross between English peas and snow peas. They are best eaten raw or briefly blanched so they still have plenty of snap. Fennel bulb (also called finocchio or Florence fennel) has a plump white crisp base, green stems and green feathery foliage. The bulb and all its accoutrements have a gorgeous, slightly sweet, subtle licorice taste. Fresh green peas (also called English peas or garden peas) are at their sweet peak of flavour in the spring. Shell the peas from their plump green pods just prior to use in cooking. Buy

green peas as close to just-picked as possible: their sugar starts converting to starch the minute they are plucked from the vine. The tiniest young green peas are called petits pois (French for “little peas”). Growing your own peas is one of the true delights of vegetable gardening. The only problem is, they rarely make it to the kitchen, because it’s hard to avoid eating all the fresh peas while standing in your garden.

Markus’ Wharfside Restaurant

Vancouver Island’s best kept secret

Cream of The Crop for May and June Baby Vegetables Nopales are the paddle-shaped fleshy green leaves of the prickly pear cactus. Bitter Melon is a melon-fruit vegetable that looks like a wrinkled cucumber. Gooseberries. Green or red gooseberries are locally grown in Saanichton from June to August. New Potatoes are yummy steamed, boiled pan-fried or in potato salad. Japanese Eggplants can be grilled, stir-fried, deep-fried in tempura batter, made into baba ganoush. Cocktail Tomatoes. Delectable BC Hot House Campari variety are larger than cherry tomatoes. A lovely little squirt of flavour. Fresh Figs: the best of the best of spring treats.

(250) 642-3596 1831 Maple Ave. Sooke



Une Jardinière de Légumes Printaniers" (a Flower Pot of Spring Vegetables) This fabulous, colourful French vegetable stew contains the first super-sweet peas, baby carrots, pencil-thin green beans and spring onions. Vary the recipe by adding new potatoes, feathery fennel leaves, fava beans, zucchini and/or baby spinach leaves. Briefly blanching the vegetables retains their vibrant colours. If you wish to simmer the dish longer, add a bouquet garni (parsley, thyme and bay leaves tied into a bouquet) while cooking and remove it before serving. Serves 4 Salt and pepper, to taste 1/4 lb. haricots verts 14 asparagus spears, ends snapped off 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 spring onion 3 cloves garlic, grated finely 1 1-inch piece of ginger root, grated 3 baby carrots, cut in thin 2-inch matchsticks 1 small fennel bulb, white part thinly sliced


1/4 lb. sugar snap peas 1 cup fresh green peas 1 baby zucchini, cut into thin 2-inch matchsticks 1 tbsp. brown sugar 1/4 cup water 1 Boston lettuce heart, quartered 2 tbsp. chopped Italian parsley 1 tbsp. chopped fresh basil

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Cook onion for 1 minute. Add garlic and ginger and cook 1 minute. Add carrots, fennel bulb and asparagus. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes. Add sugar snap peas, green peas, zucchini, asparagus tips, sugar, water, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 9 minutes. Add lettuce heart and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with parsley and basil. Adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper if desired. MAY | JUNE 2009


Chef’s Talk:

by Ceara Lornie

What is your claim to fame? What makes you a kitchen hero? Ben Peterson - Heron Rock Bistro 250.383.1545 Although some find him a tad shrill, I'm always quick to call out "Rush!" whenever Geddy Lee comes on the radio, and turn the volume up accordingly. The staff loves that, and that's why I'm their hero.

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Garrett Schack - Vista 18 250.382.9258 I create the most incredible food. I have the ability to turn even the most boring of foods into works of art that wow our guests beyond their wildest expectations. The team at Chateau Victoria sees everyday worked with me as a day of inspiration and education. Honest! Its true ask any of them. If they say any different its closing shifts for a month! Markus Weiland - Markus’ Wharfside Bistro 250.642.3596 I am a clean freak, my jacket is always spotless even after a busy summer's night. I teach this to all my staff.

“Victoria’s best kept live music & fine dining secret.”

Psssst... Thursday & Friday evenings from 7pm.

638 Fisgard Street 250-475-1948

Peter Whatmough - Brentwoodbay Lodge & Spa 250.544.5108 Being a kitchen hero is not exactly my goal in life. I find the term a little cheesy and shallow. I would like to be remembered for more than just being the guy who bought a beer for his cooks at the end of a killer night. I would have to say that what makes me a “good chef ” is my attitude. My cooks can count on the way I conduct myself and in turn how I treat them. Ken Hueston - Smoken’ Bones 250.391.6328 My claim to fame in the kitchen is that that I love to show the cooking processes of food, cutting techniques and sauce preparation and my staff can always count on me to consistently let them clean my mess up. Apologies to my favorite kitchen staff in the whole world, but at least I can acknowledge my weaknesses which probably makes me a hero in their eyes. Alberto Pozzolo - The Italian Bakery 250.388.4557 On summer days when the bakery is hot from the daily baking, I become the most popular boss. Staff appear out of nowhere to beg for the fresh gelato that is just being extruded from the gelato maker which I regularly use in the summer. Peter Zambri - Zambri’s 250.360.1171 My staff knows that I would never ask them to do something that I am not prepared to do myself. That and the fact that I can fix anything with a piece of gum and a paperclip, kind of like MacGyver. AND I can open a beer with my asscheek! Laurie Munn - Cafe Brio 250.383.0009 What makes me a kitchen hero? I didn't realize I was one, but maybe the fact that the Brio crew, both front and back, put up with my cutting sarcastic wit means I must be doing something right. Cory Pelan - La Piola 250.388-4517 I’d have to say my undying passion for food and how it translates to what we create. My team can trust that I truly care about everything that leaves my kitchen and, just as important, how it is received by our guests. The front of the house team communicates that passion to our guests with a trust and respect for what we are creating day to day facilitating a great dining experience. In the end, i think the team makes me a hero. Oh, and of course, free beer.



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2nd Annual Culinary Tourism Conference


had contemplated not attending the 2nd Annual Culinary Tourism Conference at the Sutton Place Hotel in Vancouver, however decided to attend nonetheless and was pleasantly surprised by how well the conference organizers really lead by example in providing both a fantastic conference as well as creative culinary tours. The real highlight of the conference was our Trolley Tour of Granville Island. A quick stop at Nu for bubbles and canapés, a wine tasting lesson at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts with resident sommelier and Riedel wine glass representative complemented with canapés created by culinary students, a wander through the Granville Market with a stop at Edible BC Specialty Shop to try local birch syrup and another stop at Oyama Sausage. This was followed by our final stop at Granville Island Brewery and to finish, Vista D’oro’s 2007 D’oro (fortified walnut wine) paired with artisan cheese and chocolates while we headed back to the hotel. This was a unique and memorable culinary experience that my sweetie and I are still talking today. —Kira Rogers

Foie Gras Poll Results We asked Tapas (EAT’s newsletter) subscribers

“Would you eat foie gras?” Here’s the tally. 75% Yes, it's one of the most delicious things on earth. 25% No, force-feeding ducks is unethical. Some of the comments readers made: “No, I would not eat foie gras — for human and health reasons. There are so many great foods I really love. Why bother?” “I have no hesitation at all and truly wish it was available from France on a regular basis.” “I would eat foie gras - it has distinctive flavour. My filet mignon steak is not the same without a little stuffing of foie gras.”

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“I ate it for the first time a few days ago at Jean George's new Market restaurant in Vancouver and found it delicious, but had no idea what it was. I thought it was a kind of beef. Now that I know, I would not eat it again, no matter how good it tastes.” “Gavage is practiced humanely, causing little disturbance to the animals and renders a delicious food steeped in tradition and culture. Modern plants, such as the ones I have visited in 2008, are hygienic and employ the most humane slaughtering techniques available, because if you stress the ducks and geese, the liver will taste bad.” “Although foods can have important cultural impacts on a society, we also need to think about how what we eat reflects what we value as a society. I would like to be part of a society that values the ethical treatment of animals and therefore don't agree with the eating of foie gras.”

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w w w. e p i c u r e a n p a n t r y. c a 1034 1 0 3 4 Fort F o r t Street S t r e e t | 250·380·7654 2 5 0 · 3 8 0 · 7 6 5 4 |

“Yes, I have and would again eat foie gras because it is tastes wonderful. And if chosen carefully, you can trace it back to reputable farms who treat their animals humanely.” “There was a time the idea was disturbing to me until I learned from a documentary that, as with most things, there's a right way and a wrong way. Those who conduct themselves unethically in the practice of husbandry, no matter with what animal species, unfortunately attract the most negative press and hurt those whose industry meet, if not exceed requirements, standards and best practices.” “A great moral dilemma. I have been on foie gras farms in Quebec and have seen the whole process from raising the ducks through gavage and on to slaughter and processing. The gentleman who raised the ducks had a great love for the birds and treated them very well. When the gavage tube approaches the ducks they eagerly turn towards it and bob their heads towards it. I have lived on a duck and goose farm in Ontario (Mariposa Farm in Plantagenet just outside Ottawa.) When the feed truck for the geese would back up the driveway the geese would stream towards the barn and gorge themselves on the grain. Geese and ducks have a natural tendency to gorge and their throats are covered with a hard scale that allows them to digest gristle. So the gavage tube does not really harm them. I am more appalled by how milk cows or battery chickens are raised then foie gras fowl. I have switched over to organic milk and buy my eggs here on the Island now.” “This is a delicacy I can live without. I’m against the way ducks and geese are treated to produce such as luxury. Force-feeding ducks so their livers swell about 10 to 12 times their normal size. It’s not natural. It’s not ethical.” *For free email delivery of Tapas please sign-up at MAY | JUNE 2009


rom cheese to oysters and the wines to go with them, the Comox Valley beckons food lovers to its shores this season to taste its homegrown delicacies. The community of 65,000 on Vancouver Island’s east coast is a haven for culinary tourism, with farms, fresh food markets, and restaurants waiting to be discovered. Baynes Sound produces about half of Canada’s shellfish, representing $8.5 million in revenue annually. The bounty can be bought fresh from the shores or from one of the many local restaurants serving the delicacy. The Valley’s wine and beer makers are a story waiting to be told. Established wineries include Beaufort Vineyard and Estate Winery in Courtenay and several on Hornby Island. Opening this spring, Nature’s Way Farm, an established organic blueberry farm, will become a fruit wine producer with their Blue Moon Winery. Surgenor Brewery in Comox recently opened the Valley’s first microbrewery to rave reviews. Their product is already on tap at several Comox Valley eateries. Visit the Comox Fisherman's Wharf to discover Known as the Valley of Festivals, the Comox Valley is home to a growing number of several boats selling the catch of the day. culinary-focussed events. In June, Filberg Heritage Lodge and the Comox Marina Park are home to the Comox Valley Shellfish Festival. Mount Washington Alpine Resort plays host to 3 summer events sure to attract the culinary enthusiast including the Alpine Food Festival in September, complete with celebrity chefs, cooking classes and wild blueberry guided hikes.


For more information on this culinary destination, please visit

Your Special Place ... Every Day to a different beat

Chef Drew Noble has created a menu based on seasonal comfort food with a modern twist that will keep you coming back Open 7 Days a Week 1760 Riverside Lane Courtenay


(250) 897 0081 5th Street, Downtown Courtenay

Many Como



n Comox terfront [1805 B Weir managin Ave, 250-890 Chef Aaron Ra more casual a 10:30pm closi eat well in the has expanded ery [221A C www.wildflou and direct de land's Wedne classes and chefs." ‌Rut Aline Wittwer empire from it to a second lo St.]. In Courtena patio and sid Atlas Cafe [25 updated the w land wines. ‌ ican Rest 250.334.8033 $15/litre; Tue Fogarty hosts and June 4th Highway 250 www.kingfish Muller recent menu at Silve

Introducing the New Herb Keeper The freshest ingredients add flavor to any meal. The new Herb Keeper from Cuisipro makes it simple to keep herbs and asparagus fresh longer. Fill this clever container with your favorite herbs, immerse stems with water and refrigerate, to keep fresh herbs fresh for weeks.


  1761 A Comox Avenue, Comox, BC, (250) 339-1153 32



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n Comox the choicest location on the waterfront is now The Pier Pub & Bistro [1805 Beaufort Avenue] with Darlene Weir managing. At Avenue Bistro [2064 Comox Ave, 250-890-9200], Chef Aaron Rail’s new menu reflects a “lighter, more casual and funâ€? spring attitude. With a 10:30pm closing this is still the latest place to eat well in the Comox Valley. ‌Carol Spencer has expanded Wild Flour Organic Artisan Bakery [221A Church Street, 250.890.0017,] wholesale and direct delivery; outreach to Hornby Island's Wednesday Ringside Market; cooking classes and events with local "celebrity chefs." ‌Ruth Vanderlinden and daughter Aline Wittwer are taking their Benino Gelato empire from its Comox base [1700 Comox Ave.] to a second location in Courtenay [244 - 4th St.]. In Courtenay, warmer weather will see the patio and sidewalk tables getting service at Atlas Cafe [250-6th Street, 250.338.9838]. An updated the wine list includes Vancouver Island wines. â€Śâ€˜Til the end of June at Tita's Mexican Restaurant [536-6th Street, 250.334.8033]: Monday night margaritas at $15/litre; Tues it’s $9.99 burritos. ‌Chef Troy Fogarty hosts Chef's Table events on May 7th and June 4th at The Kingfisher [4330 Island Highway 250-338-1323 and 800-663-7929]. ‌Chef Norman Muller recently rolled out a tasty new spring menu at Silverado Steakhouse [Crown Isle Re-

sort, 399 Clubhouse Drive 250-703-5050]. ‌On May 10 Chef Ronald St. Pierre at Local's [364-8th St.,250.338.6493,] hosts the second "Table Champêtre" food and wine pairing evening to showcase Comox Valley’s Beaufort Vineyard & Estate Winery 2008 vintage selection. The six-course dinner will feature all local food and producers. $85 per person. In Cumberland, The Gatehouse Bistro & Gallery [3rd & Penrith 250-336-8099] offers enjoyable dining experiences from informal cafe style to formal dining, as well as a room designated for private functions. ‌A couple of blocks away, Chef Nicola Cuhna carries the torch for nuevo Indian fare at The Great Escape [2744 Dunsmuir Street,, 250-3368831]. End of May will see lunches (ThursSun), a new fusion item (in-house chicken ravioli) - and the return of the mango mojito! Mario Balasta and Co. is at The Tasting Room & Liquor Store [#4 -2253 South Island Highway, 250.830.9463,] in the evening; during the day, Ralf and Jodie Spodzieja at Cipollines Bakery, Deli & Catering [2190 South Island Hwy 250-923-4000] deliver the goods in their Artisan bakery. Finally, Mount Washington Alpine Resort offers its 10th annual Beerfest (July 10), the 11th annual Wine Festival (Aug 7), the 2nd annual Alpine Food Festival (September 4-6). —by HansPeter Meyer

The Kingfisher Oceanside Resort & Spa‌Vancouver Island’s Premier Spa Resort Experience Gourmet Oceanside Dining including our feature events Chef’s Table, Seafood Buffet, Sunday Brunch and one of the best views in the Pacific Northwest



Dining in casual elegance. Experience the bounty‌ Fresh





  Chef Owner Ronald St. Pierre C.C.C.





Open Tuesday through Saturday 11 am to 9 pm 250-338-6493 Unit C - 368 - 8th Street, Courtenay (next to Shopper's Drug Mart - corner 8th & England) MAY | JUNE 2009


THE N The Comox Valley is an agri-cultural hotspot with over 119 farms.

THE RESTAURANT REPORTER: The Tasting Room | #5 South Island Highway, Campbell River | 250.926.0656

W flickering in the stone-fronted oven greet you as you arm colours, warm host and an open kitchen with flames

stepping into the elegant Tasting Room. Starting with drinks, a classic Kir Royale and a “Tasting Room Caesar”—a spicy variation on the classic, garnished with a prawn and a bright red pickled pepper we poured over the menu. The Tasting Room is primarily about the experience of wine. Ten reds and ten whites are featured, with changes every couple of weeks. Wines from nearby Merville’s Beaufort Winery sre featured and very good ‘by the glass’ prices help aficianados and amateurs explore the world of wine. We sampled combination plate of tapas and a glass of the Okanagan’s 2006 Gehringer Bros. Estate Riesling. Our tapas included: skewered chicken breast on a bed of fresh pumpkin fettucini drizzled with a balsamic reduction; flat bread with sour cream and bacon; and delicate rolls of lamb, pork, and chicken



sausage in a puff pastry wrapper laid on a bed of baby greens.” For our main courses I chose the New York steak dressed with herb butter and served with another helping of the Prontissima Pasta’s fresh pumpkin fettucini. The steak was served as I’d asked, rare. With the assertive flavours of the pasta and the brilliant green tender-crisp brocolli, it was a tasty element in a robust plateful. My date’s cheese and spinach crepe was a subtle complement to this robustness. Filled with a blend of spinach, ricotta, gruyere, mozzarella, and herbs, and baked in a tomato cream sauce the dish was a delight to look at and to taste. A Church & State Syrah (produced on the Saanich Peninsula from Okanagan grapes). This inky, intense red in the Old World style will have me coming back for more. We finished our meal with a taste of Beaufort Winery’s delightfully black-fruited port-style wine, a peanut butter cheesecake for her, and a panna cotta for me. —by HansPeter Meyer


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elebrating 25 years on Vancouver Island, Les Chaîne des Rôtisseurs is a century’s old society (founded in France in 1248) devoted to the gastronomic pleasure of fine food, good wine and the camaraderie of the dining table. Where do I sign up? The society has members in over seventy-five countries. In Canada, there are twelve "Bailliages," or chapters, each headed by a Bailli. Nanaimo’s Bailli is Steve Burchert, a 30-year hospitality veteran with a background in food and wine; the man earned his title honestly. The local chapter works with many of Vancouver Island’s most laudable chefs and wineries to host elegant feasts where guests are treated to gourmet pleasures pulled from the fields, forests and fiords of the Island. Restaurants such as The Mahle House Restaurant in Nanaimo, Merridale Estate Cidery in Shawnigan Lake, The Masthead Restaurant in Cowichan Bay and The Wesley Street Restaurant in Nanaimo will host event dinners during 2009. Call Steve Burchert at 250-751-8717 for more information. The name, Silly-Yak Bakery, [172 Second Avenue West, Qualicum Beach 250-752-2857], makes me laugh every time. However, it says what it does in a very clever manner. Owners Bea & Elmer Trocha’s daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease at a young age so they set about creating a gluten-free line of breads, muffins and cookies that she was able to digest. Now they ship their bread mixes all over Canada and the U.S. and sell the genuine item, made fresh daily, in their store, Village Bulk Foods (located at the same address). The harvest seed, raisin and cheese & sun-dried tomato breads are top sellers, but they also do a brisk business in cookies, pie shells, perogies and pizza crust. Whether you are a gluten no-fly zone or not, their products are tasty treats without the wheat. Back Road Java is just that, on a back road in the middle of nowhere. Okay, I guess if you live in Errington you don’t consider it the middle of nowhere, but folks, it is. Located at the corner of Errington Road & Grafton Avenue [Unit # 1, 1548 Grafton Avenue, Errington, Tel: 250-951-3171] is about the best I can do to tell you where to find the place. But find it you must because owners Sue Salter & Trudy Bosman make a sticky bun worthy of the pilgrimage and the GPS navigation system needed to find them. They also make robust packed-with-flavour soups (two types per day), mile-high hearty sandwiches with local fixings, tail-waggingly good Cornish pasties and a daily lunch special that has local farmers, truckers and lost day-trippers lined-up eight deep out the door. Interestingly, when I mentioned to friends about the sticky bun find at Back Road Java, I was inundated with commands that I must try Old Town Bakery [510 First Avenue, Ladysmith 250245-2531]. This quaint bakery, owned by Kate & Geoff Cram, is housed in a heritage building and it has built its fame (and I do mean fame) on not one, but seven varieties of sticky buns. Trust me, there is not one human within 40 kilometers of Ladysmith who doesn’t know about these ooey-gooey phenomena of butter, sugar, cinnamon (et al) and soft, yielding, yeasty bread. One bun could feed a family of five. Fresh, toasted or frozen for future late-night indulgence with a mug of cocoa, these babies gave birth to the original meaning for the expression, “having great buns.” And while you are huffing and puffing up and down the hills in Ladysmith, fall into a whacky little joint called Appétit [534 First Ave, Ladysmith, 250-250-245-1321] run by self-named CrazyMan Martin Tang. The interior is decorated in bad 60’s acid flash-back electric orange and green. The food hails from all over Asia except for breakfast which speaks to Martin’s five years of apprentice chef training in Germany. Bratwurst and Kung Pow anyone? It is quirky mix of foods but everything is made from scratch, tasty, local, fresh and eclectic. Half the fun is people watching and listening to Martin hiddey-ho everyone by first name, knowing exactly what they are going to order and getting it started before they utter a word. CONT’D ON THE NEXT PAGE

Nanaimo’s Best Gourmet Deli…

6560 Metral Drive, Nanaimo

390-0008 MAY | JUNE 2009


Mid-Island has no Chinatown such as those found in Victoria, Vancouver or Richmond, ergo finding good quality Asian ingredients can get frustrating. Enter Basil Chau and his mini-Chinatown within four walls. Man Lee Oriental Foods, [Unit 11 – 1150 Terminal Avenue North, Nanaimo 250-753-6133] is a treasure trove of all things Asian gourmet. He carries foods from Korea, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam and, of course, China. Basil (it was his landlady in Coventry, England who gave him the very British first name) is fiercely opposed to MSG so most of the fresh or frozen foods found in store are free of the ghastly additive. His freezer is packed with brilliant little dim sum “touch the heart” bundles of joy typically found on rolling carts in Chinese restaurants. However, he orders many varieties custom-made minus the MSG. Bless him. Still hungry? If so, nip around the corner to Basil’s soup tureen. Green Tea Asian Cuisine [1150 Terminal Avenue North, Nanaimo 250-753-3435] is a miniscule place serving-up heaving caldrons of Vietnamese beef noodle soup, skewers of fragrant plump lemongrass chicken, crispy yam fritters with giant prawns and a number of other notables that may be eaten in or taken-out. —Su Grimmer

completely re approach with and great win If you are a eration turns o Ram Prasad S 73 Lawrence A Carmelis G menus of man is one of the O their farm in u www.carmelis




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t’s wine festival time in the Okanagan again!! Coming up for the Okanagan Winefest? Make sure to take a side trip to visit the gorgeous Similkameen Valley. Boasting some of our best wineries as well as housing the town of Cawston, the organic capital of Canada, visitors will marvel at the awesome landscape of this area. Orofino Vineyards in Cawston is featuring their annual: Panini on the Piazza event for Winefest. Chef Brad Lazarenko will be cooking up gourmet Panini’s with all local Similkameen Valley ingredients to go with Orofino’s new release wines. This informal, outdoor event will take place Sunday May 10 from 11am to 3pm - no reservations are required. Visit the Okanagan Spring Wine Festival website and Orofino’s website FarmFolk/CityFolk has recently announced that the First Annual Okanagan Feast of Fields will happen in 2009! The FF experience takes guests on a journey through the farms and faces of the local growers and producers. “Upon arrival at the host farm they are handed a wine glass, a linen napkin and a program that outlines all that's on offer to see, drink and eat.” Event Coordinator, Rhys Pender, (owner of Wineplus+ and former owner of Kelowna's much loved Okanagan Grocery will be arranging this exciting adventure program for foodies with a date yet to be announced. The tour, or rather ‘the Feast', will move from farm to farm providing guests with insights into each operation and a chance to speak to the growers/producers. Proceeds from Feast of Fields benefit the provincial work of FarmFolk/CityFolk and a portion of the first year's proceeds will benefit their Okanagan-based Seed Security project. Tickets go on sale June 1st. Check out for details. The Kelowna Farmers and Crafters Market is now open for the season! Running on Wednesdays and Saturdays, from 8 am to 1 pm, May through October, this diverse market, located at the corner of Dilworth Dr. and Springfield Rd., features up to 125 vendors. Offering various good and services, from fresh produce and foodie delights to yummy food vendors and crafts – there is something for everyone. Thursday evening markets will again be held this year at the downtown Kelowna location at The Dolphins parking lot from 4 PM to 8 PM, starting June 4, 2009. When visiting the Okanagan, don’t forget that many of our wineries have glorious restaurant venues to offer. Quail’s Gate’s Old Vines Restaurant is one of our most spectacular eateries and is offering a special Mother’s Day Brunch. Chef Roger Sleiman creates gorgeous food that pairs perfectly with their award winning wines -the perfect way to celebrate your Mom (you can also pick out a gift for her in the wineshop – perhaps a spring pashmina scarf?). Quails Gate is also now offering a unique tasting experience for visitors! Two special tastings are now on the menu. The Stewart Family Reserve Tasting where guests will enjoy an intimate tasting with a senior wine educator in the Stewart Family Room that includes a brief history of the Okanagan Valley & Quails’ Gate and a tutored tasting of current release & Stewart Family Reserve wines. Or, add food into the mix with the Stewart Family Reserve Food & Wine Journey that provides an intimate food and wine pairing experience with a senior wine educator that includes: A brief history of the Okanagan Valley & Quails’ Gate and tutored tasting of current release & Family Reserve wines paired with a selection of contrasting and complimenting canapés! Check dates and book your group now through or phone: 250-769-4451 Toll Free: 1-800-420-9463 Kelowna is sad to announce that our much loved celebrity Chef Michael Allemeier will be leaving Mission Hill Winery and heading to Calgary to teach at the prestigious SAIT Polytechnic School of Hospitality, specifically in their Professional Cooking program. Chef Allemeier has been a major force in our eat local and sustainability movement in the Okanagan and was huge support for our local farmers. Best of luck Michael – we will miss you! Congratulations to Winery Chef Matt Batey, who has been promoted from the position of Terrace Chef to lead all of the winery’s culinary programs. Plan to head up to Kelowna’s beautiful orchard district for lunch and a farm tour. The Ridge Restaurant is open for lunch seven days a week and Sunday brunch from May through October. Chefs Travis Hackl and Todd Hollett’s menu features seasonal, local products with many also made to pair with on-site Raven Ridge Cidery’s fresh Iced Apple Ciders. After lunch one can engage in a tour or stroll over their fruit stand that also offers great gift ideas as well as a tasting bar where one can sample Raven Ridge’s delicious ciders. RAUdz Regional Table is open. The much talked about makeover of Kelowna’s award-winning Fresco Restaurant is now buzzing with business. Owner’s Chef Rod Butters and Audrey Surrao (hence the name “RAUdz”) surprised the world by invoking Obama’s YES WE CAN attitude to


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completely redesign the look and style of Fresco. Moving from a higher end venue to a more casual approach with locally inspired comfort food, beer on tap and big screen TV’s - the gourmet menu and great wine list remain. Check out the menu: 1560 Water Street 250.868.8805 If you are a fan of Indian/Nepalese food, check out Everest in Kelowna. This small family run operation turns out delicious food and truly some of the best naan bread this side of Mumbai. Owner, Ram Prasad Sapkota, who actually hails from Nepal, provides a warm and welcoming atmosphere. 73 Lawrence Avenue (250) 762-7000 Carmelis Goat Cheese has become famous for its fine cheeses and can now be seen on the menus of many high-end restaurants and quality grocery stores. What you can’t find in the stores is one of the Okanagan’s best-kept secrets – Carmelis goat milk gelato! Only available onsite at their farm in upper Mission, you will be amazed at this incredibly, creamy and delicious iced treat.



fter a patient wait, market season has finally arrived in Victoria. Moss Street Market will be lively and full of Spring greens and flowers the first Saturday of May; bring your basket and your appetite and catch up with some familiar farmers. A spanking new pocket market has also opened at Saanich Commonwealth Place on Fridays 9am til noon. Recent government regulations on meat and eggs sold at farmers’ markets have some local producers imploring Victoria consumers to be more supportive than ever. Local abattoirs (meat-slaughtering facilities) are being shut down under new rigourous stipulations in the face of international meat scares making it difficult for the Capital Region’s small-scale farmers to afford to process their meat. For more information contact local food security activist Sheila Wallace of Food CHI at Better yet, join in the evolving movement to grow your own food: ‘Food Security Begins in our Own Backyards’ reads the motto of a series of free gardening workshops that are being offered throughout the city this May and June. Visit for a complete list. Keep your eyes open for a few tweaks in Victoria’s gastronomic scene. Snug in a cozy space beside Oxford Foods, the One Fish Two Fish chip wagon (the successor of Red Fish Blue Fish) is so tiny you could easily stroll right past it without seeing it, but the scent of crispy tempura-battered fish, tuna tacones, and handcut Kennebec chips will stop you in your tracks. Café Brio has created a new menu including pulled pork and sunchoke ravioli plus many more seasonal ingredients — check out their website for the full roster. Just outside the city, Merridale Cidery has built a vine-

gar shack for distilling apple cider vinegar (a major source of antioxidants and health food favourite) the old-fashioned English way. Look for their first batch this June. And the family-run Gabriola Island Winery is also reaching back to tried and true artisanal methods with their purchase of an oldworld style Alembic Copper Pot Still from Portugal so they can make traditional spirits —some using recipes dating as far back as the 17th century. Sample their Absinthe in the Tasting Room on Gabriola (call 250.244.1648 for more details). The Hotel Grand Pacific has announced its Sustainable Wines program featuring wines that are produced with a holistic approach to growing and food production that respects the environment. Look for the green dot on the hotel’s wine list to identify wine picks that marry quality with sustainability. Glo Europub is pleased to announce that Reid Ayotte will be leaving her position as GM at Med Grill Royal Oak to take the helm at Glo. When you leave the office you can now head for drinks and more at The Office lounge & restaurant. Doors open at the corner of Yates and Blanshard early May with a lunch menu to follow in June. Tugwell Creek Meadery has introduced an educational component to their business. Beginning May 1st, Master Beekeeper Robert Liptrot will lead tours every Sunday morning to teach Victorians about one of their best local mead sources —best part is that you get to sip the results in their cozy tasting room. After all that eating stroll by the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. A new exhibit showcased in the Assume Nothing series has gastronomes talking about the implications of our food choices over the past century. ‘12 Recipe Boxes’ features old recipes collected from around North America with curious ingredients (one calls for four pounds of processed cheese) that speak to the evolution of cooking between the 1920s and 1980s.



his year’s Vancouver International Wine Festival plus a key restaurant award geared Vancouverites toward where and what to sip and savour this season. Many are sure to nose out BC pinots—noir, gris and blanc—among BC delights. Got steak and salmon in the picnic hamper? Got room for only one in the backpack? For red make it pinot noir. For white, riesling. Winner of this year’s EAT Magazine Vintner’s Brunch wine and food pairing, Chef Blair Rasmussen (Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Center) partnered slow braised Asian-inspired Bison ribs brilliantly with Pierre Sparr Riesling. Rasmussen again, joined chefs Julian Bond, Dino Renaerts, and out-of-towner, Tony Lawrence in praising pinot noir’s elegant versatility with fish, fowl, meat and mushrooms, at “What’s Behind Pairing With Pinots”. Local wine instructor DJ Kearney had


Food Security Forum: What’s in our Regional Food Basket? On Friday March 13th, the fourth annual Food Matters Forum addressed the issue of food security in the Capital Region District. Spearheaded by CR-FAIR and supported by VIHA, the forum titled “What’s in our Regional Food Basket?” welcomed local farmers, producers, consumers, activists, and teachers to discuss specific issues concerning food security. The three key issues hotly discussed were the possibility of a year-round farmers’ market in Victoria, increasing access to food for households living on low income, and creating partnerships between universities and communities on food issues. Following the discussion, keynote speakers Diane “the Seaweed Lady” Bernard of Sooke and Tom Henry, Metchosin farmer and editor of Small Farms magazine addressed the group on the issues of sourcing regional foods and supporting local farmers. Bernard shed light on the significance of seaweed —one of the oldest and fastest growing plants in the world, as well as a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and fibre— while Henry spoke eloquently on the ‘agricultural reformation’ currently abuzz. “Farmers and producers are trying new things and amalgamating,” Henry explained, “and with consumers we’re seeing a revisitation of the farmers’ market.” Both urged forum attendees to explore regional foods and support local producers as often as you can. For more information on the Seaweed Lady, visit and to read more of Tom Henry’s ideas, visit A handful of food security champions were honoured later in the evening during a sumptuous potluck feast for their contributions to the community. Congratulations to Dave and Natalie Chambers of Madrona Farm, Jennifer Hawes of ColdStar Freight Systems Inc, Sonya Chandler, Councillor of Victoria, Pia Carroll, Phoebe Dunbar, Mary Alice Johnson, Kathryn Kusyszyn, Ellen Lewers, Jordan Marr, and Sheila Wallace of Sooke CHI, Terry Michell of Michell Farms, Trevor Walker of Plenty Epicurean Pantry, Candace Thompson of Eagle Paw Organics, Nick Versteeg, producer of “Island on the Edge.” Hope Burns, Director of Planning of the District of Central Saanich, and special recognition went out to David Cubber, MLA, and former municipal councillor.—Katie Zdybel For more information on the CR-FAIR visit MAY | JUNE 2009


us clamouring for more vinho verde in the market at her Vinho Verde: The Fresh Taste of Spring” seminar From salmon to sablefish, and at this time of year—spot prawns,—sustainable reigns when it comes to seafood. Provence at Marinaside grills the pink shellfish perfectly while offering one of the city's prettier waterside settings. Meanwhile Frank Pabst at Blue Water Café continues to head up the city’s finest and fishiest kitchen. Check out the Raw Bar oyster selection, lobster ceviche, Galiano swimming scallops, the seafood tower… Kudos to Paul Kamon for the rockin’ no speeches Urban Diner Awards party at Voya in April. Fresh oysters, burger and sausage sliders, and crispy-crust mini-pizzas, and dainty dessert-y things kept coming as the top awards were announced—briefly. Chef Rob Belcham and team garnered several awards—for Fuel, Campagnolo, best chef and best service. Voya knocked ‘em over for (well-deserved) best new design and formal and won the EAT Magazine prize of a complimentary advertisement. Having just popped into Uva two nights previously I can’t quibble with the award for Sebastian Le Goffs wine list (except maybe for the mark-ups). Check out for complete list of winners. Not your use-up-what’s-leftover-in-the-galley chow-downs, recession-buster menus are popping up all over with fresh seasonal and innovative ingredients. If you’ve got the cash, cash in on the excellent two ($20) or three ($25) course lunch menu at Le Gavroche. My choice? Classic Caesar salad and free-range coq-au-vin. Brix offers a 3-course prix fixe before 7 pm. ($29). Mains include grilled BC Sockeye, or AAA tenderloin. Save room for the chocolate bread pudding. Get jazzed. Pop into O’Doul’s for the city’s best artists, from 9pm nightly. Tap your toes over a glass of Wild Goose Riesling ($7) and Dungeness crab and shrimp croquettes ($13). During the TD Jazz Festival (June26-July5) you just may eye one of the greats sitting on a late-night session. —Julie Pegg



rom a recent foodie field trip to Campbell River: the Angler's Dining Room at Dolphins Resort [4125 Discovery Drive 1-800-891-0287 /] is considered Campbell River's "hidden gem." …Campbell River Restaurant Supplies [851 13th Avenue 250-287-3323] has great deals on kitchen tools and restaurant ware. …Amy's Asian Foods [480 13th Avenue 250-286-0595] is well worth the trip for speciality items. …Cheddar & Co. [1090A Shoppers Row 250-830-0244]. May 15th features an "Oyster Taste & Talk" with Brent Petkau. —Hans Peter Meyer




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Panache at Bear Mountain Resort


Panache Chocolate Bar with Salted Caramel Ice Cream

We swooned when we tried executive chef Iain Rennie’s rich and decadent “bar” made with Lindt dark chocolate ganache atop a crunchy biscuit base. Sure, you expect to find cooking of this calibre at the upscale yet intimate Panache restaurant at Bear Mountain Resort, but when a dish surpasses the usual, you take note. Chef takes this excellent dessert and adds a few surprises that ratchet up the wow factor. He takes sweet caramel sauce, adds kosher coarse salt and drizzles it over the chocolate bar. But he also takes this same sauce, adds a rich crème anglais and turns it into salty/sweet ice cream. Who doesn’t love that play of salty against sweet? But wait, there’s more. As if that isn’t enough, Rennie takes liquid nitrogen, pours it over the bar (which instantly freezes it to minus 300ºC), taps the bar with a spoon and shatters it into shards and fragments to the oohs and ahhs of diners. Who is chef Iain Rennie? Born in Scotland but Island-raised, Rennie has been executive chef at Bear Mountain Resort for three years. He graduated from the cooking program at Malaspina College (now Vancouver Island University), apprenticed at the Savoy Hotel in London and received his first white toque at Fairmont Empress Hotel before going on to run the stoves at a couple of Vancouver Fairmont hotels and taking the helm at Bear Mountain. Says Rennie, “The opposing textural contrasts of crunchy and smooth and the sweet/salty flavours are what make this dessert a success. Diners find it surprising … yet they still get to have their big chocolate fix.” Although it is rumoured the “bar” will be available at the soon-to-open grocery and pastry store on top of Bear Mountain, for now the only place to indulge is Panache. —Gary Hynes

m at Dolphins is considered 1 13th Avenue an Foods [480 & Co. [1090A es an "Oyster

1999 Country Club Way 250-391-7160 PHOTOGRAPHER:

Rebecca Wellman MAY | JUNE 2009





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Experience the magnificent new Black Rock Oceanfront Resort located in Ucluelet, BC, with spectacular accommodations and awe-inspiring views. Luxury Redefined – on Vancouver Island’s wild west coast. 1-877-762-5011 •

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successful 21st Annual Pacific Rim Whale Festival saw the 13th Annual Chowder Chowdown in Ucluelet with 500 guests and 13 restaurants competing for best chowder. Sobo won first place for Judge’s Choice and People’s Choice awards while Wildside Grill placed second for Judge’s Choice followed by Ukee Dogs in third place. The 4th Annual Martini Migration was another great success with Long Beach Lodge Resort winning People’s Choice award for best martini, Shelter Restaurant won for best booth, Weigh West Resort won for most original drink and Wickaninnish Inn’s Pointe Restaurant won for best food-and-drink pairing. The annual Whale Festival Gala Dinner at The Pointe Restaurant succeeded in raising $15,000.00 this year. New to Ucluelet is Norwoods Restaurant. Owned by Chef Richard Norwood, former Executive Chef of Boat Basin Restaurant at Tauca Lea Resort, the 34 seat restaurant will feature small plates and a wine bar with an open kitchen. Located at 1714 Peninsula Road, 250 726 7001. The Schooner Restaurant, Tofino’s oldest restaurant in the heart of town, has been working hard at supporting non profits during these challenging economic times, with fundraising events supporting the Tonquin Foundation, Clayoquot Biosphere Trust, Tofino General Hospital and Surfriders Foundation. Currently their lounge menu is both delicious and price point, with favourites including the Famous Schooner Burger and Old School Fish+Chips, while the casual dining menu include The Halibut Bowden Bay, The West Coast Hot Pot and The Captains Plate . Located at Campbell and Second, 250 725 3664. Gearing up for the 7th Annual Tofino Food and Wine Festival, June 5 – 7, brings to Tofino more than 50 BC wineries with local restaurants providing canapés at the Grazing in the Gardens main event. Opening festival Winemaker’s Dinner features a multi-course dinner prepared by Wickaninnish Inn’s Executive Chef John Waller and Pointe Restaurant Chef Nicholas Nutting, with pairings from Oliver’s Road 13 Winery + Vineyards (formerly known as Golden Mile Cellars). The Schooner Restaurant will showcase local breweries with Schooner Burgers and live local DJ. Other events are lining up as you read this so please check for updates online at After a contract with the Village Taphouse in West Vancouver, Chef Richard Moore joins Shelter Restaurant again, along with Sam Maltby, Night Manager. Chef Rob Wheaton has re-joined Long Beach Lodge Resort, however this time around he is Food and Beverage Director. —Kira Rogers

Our wines breathe

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call 1.800.333.4604 MAY | JUNE 2009


by Larry Arnold

…from your own backyard

VQA Wine Shop at

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Carmen Classic Sauvignon Blanc 08 Chile $14.00-16.00 The Kiwi’s set the new world standard for fresh, zingy Sauvignon Blanc’s a couple of decades ago and have pretty much held the field until now. They are good, but they are expensive, and in these penny-pinching days we could all use a break at the cash register. Since that break is unlikely to come from the government, the best option is to look elsewhere for value. This zippy little Sauvignon from Chile is just the ticket. Crisp and clean with vibrant pink grapefruit and herbal aromas, fresh fruit flavours and mouthwatering acidity, that doesn’t let up! Yeow. Morande Pionero Carmenere 08 Chile $14.00-16.00 Until a few years ago hardly anybody north of the 49th had ever heard of Carmenere. As a matter of fact, the Chileans themselves were fobbing it off on us unsuspecting rubes as a kind of hairy leafed Merlot. Ah, the evil machinations of the marketing man. Well the jigs up buster, many of us have at least heard of it by now and if you haven’t tasted it yet, now is the time. Even Chile has finally embraced this long lost varietal and claims it for its own. Very fresh and spicy, offering scents of blackberries and cherries with a pronounced green herbal note that acts as a counterpoint to the ripeness of the fruit. Medium-bodied with soft fruit flavours that persist through the finish.

[THE WINES] 1715 Government Street 250.475.6260

Dinner 5:30 - 11 pm Tuesday to Saturday

WHITES Domaine de Montfaucon Marsanne 07 France $26.00-30.00 Wow! This is a real zinger! Located just across the Rhone River from Chateauneuf-duPape, the grapes are hand picked and the wine aged in oak. The nose is a heady potpourri of wallflowers, tropical fruit and white honey. Exotic to say the least, with rich spicy flavours, plenty of weight on the palate and a long powerful finish, that just keeps going! Simonnet-Febvre Chablis 05 France $24.00-27.00 Before there was Chardonnay, there was Chablis! Such was the acclaim of the Chardonnay of this sleepy little village in the north of France that many in the new world used the name to sell their wines, no matter what the grape. For the most part, this is now, no longer the case. Chablis, the wine, comes from Chablis, the village. The Simonnet-Febvre is delicious with muted flavours of baked pears, quince and minerals. It is tight, clean and refreshing to the end. Very highly recommended! Leon Manbach Alsace 07 France $17.00-20.00 There is nothing subtle about this blend of Sylvaner (65%) and Pinot Blanc (35%) from the Alsace. Rich and slightly oily in texture with concentrated peach, pear and lanolin flavours with just the right amount of acidity to keep it graceful. Remoissenet Pere “Renommee” Bourgogne Blanc 97 France $33.00-40.00 If you have ever wondered what aged white Burgundy tastes like but have neither the time or the disposable income to do so, here is your opportunity. Twelve years old and still going strong! Sublime and charming with baked apple and mineral scents, good depth of flavour and lovely fruit/acid balance. Graceful to the end! Mature Burgundy at an affordable price, unthinkable, yet available!

REDS Chateau Pesquie Cotes du Ventoux “La Quintessence” 05 France $30.00-35.00 When only Chateauneuf-du-Pape will do, but the choice is between feeding the family or the bottle of wine, consider this lovely blend of Syrah (80%) and Grenache (20%) from the Cotes du Ventoux. In the great scheme of things, believe me, it’s cheap! Rich and full-bodied, with provocative berry, floral and spice aromas a generous texture and layer upon of ripe fruit flavours. Very formidable indeed. Bodegas Benegas Malbec 06 Argentina $20.00-23.00 And still they keep coming! A seemingly endless parade of Argentine Malbecs at every conceivable price point! But who’s complaining? Not me. Deeply coloured and very aromatic with plenty of fruit to absorb the 12 months spent in French oak. Potent and generous with dark savory berry flavours and a silky smooth texture. Chateau Cailleteau Bergeron 1er Cotes de Blaye 05 France $27.00-30.00 If you are a serious collector of fine wine and haven’t loaded up on 2005 Bordeaux, breathe a sigh of relief. It’s not to late. There are still a few bottles lying around in fine wine shops around this great province. This elegant claret from the right bank of



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Bordeaux is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec. It’s is all that a person can ask of a few pounds of squeezed grapes aged in oak for a year or two. The wine delivers cool blackberry, cassis and spice aromas right from the get go. Its clean and fresh with sublime, quintessential Bordeaux fruit flavours, nicely balanced with enough acidity and silky tannins to see it through a few of years in the basement. Super value.

BRITISH COLUMBIA Domaine de Chaberton Madeleine Sylvaner 08 BC $14.00-16.00 Langley, British Columbia is not generally regarded as a vinous hotbed in the world of wine, but the simple fact, that this proud producer has been in business since 1991, selling estate grown wine, says it all. They are reliable and affordable, year in, year out! The 2008 Madeleine Sylvaner has a very floral nose with hints of peaches and citrus. On the palate the wine is delicate with bracing acidity and a lovely clean finish. Delicious!

Tinhorn Creek Merlot 05 BC $19.00-22.00 There is a lot going on here, with layers of spicy oak, licorice, sage and ripe cherry fruit on the nose. Medium-bodied with supple fruit flavours, nicely balanced with a blush of soft tannins. Sounds pretty good, tastes even better!


CALL 250.592.8466



SPIRITS Powers Gold Label Irish Whiskey $40.00-45.00 With sales of over 2.5 million bottles per year, Powers is the best selling Whiskey in the Republic of Ireland. In the province of British Columbia, the picture is not so rosy. Powers will soon be but a memory as the company pulls the label too focus on its core brand, Jameson. Pity! A blend of pot still (70%) and grain (30%) whiskey, Powers is assertive but light (a real paradox that seems to sort itself out after a glass or two) with a distinctive sweet edge on the palate. Three swallows will have you believing in the little people but to do so you had better run down to your local reputable liquor store and load up before its too late.

Recent BC releases

Quails Gate 2008 Chasselas/Pinot Blanc/Gris $17 Quails Gate 2008 Gewurtztraminer $17 Quails Gate 2007 Family Reserve Pinot Noir $45 Joie Farm 2008 RosÊ $18.90 Joie Farm 2008 Un-oaked Chardonnay $20.40 Joie Farm 2008 Riesling $20.40 Joie Farm 2008 Noble Blend $21.40 Black Widow 2007 Pinot Gris $19 Burrowing Owl 2007 Chardonnay $25 Nk'Mip Cellars 2007 Winemaker’s Series Pinot Noir $19 Hester Creek 2008 Trebbiano $19.09 Hester Creek 2008 Pinot Gris $17.09 Hester Creek 2008 Semillon/Chardonnay $16.09

Private wine tastings Company wine and food events Boardroom meeting space Dinner parties with private executive chef (250)-391-4458 498 Old Island Hwy Victoria MAY | JUNE 2009



L’Heure de l’Apéro

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With the days longer and the weather warmer, the stage is set to indulge in the aperitif ritual. By Michaela Morris and Michelle Bouffard

The aperitif is a time-honoured European tradition. It conjures up images of outdoor cafés and lively conversation. Countries like France and Italy have been drinking aperitifs for decades. Yet in North America, we seem to give ourselves the green light to drink an aperitif on specials occasions only. What a shame! Sure, our equivalent is “Happy Hour,” but this generally means cheap beer and wings. While there is nothing wrong with that, to our minds there is no better way to start the evening than decompressing with a glass of pastis or Pineau des Charentes. L’heure de l’apéro, as the French call it, is our favourite time of day. What time is an aperitif appropriate? Anytime. It typically refers to a post-work, pre-dinner beverage. But it is so much more than just something to sip on while dinner is being prepared. The longer days and warmer weather provide the ideal setting to indulge in the aperitif ritual. Ask the neighbours over and enjoy a rare moment when time stands still. A few simple snacks like olives, nuts and crackers are all you need to nibble on. A word of caution; inviting friends over for an “apéro” can turn into an entire evening of sipping, snacking and chatting. An aperitif can be as straightforward as a glass of wine or beer or as fancy as champagne or a cocktail. Somewhere in between are a whole group of alcoholic beverages that were created specifically to stimulate the appetite. Originally concocted for “medicinal” purposes, they were reputed to cure ailments such as a “delicate constitution” or a “depressive state of mind.” They tend to be fortified wines or liqueurs infused with fruits or herbs. Most are sweet but don’t let this scare you. The best are complex and balanced. Sugar is an added bonus as it induces hunger. Original recipes are still closely guarded secrets, with the producer revealing just some of the ingredients to arouse your curiosity and taste buds. France offers an appealing variety of aperitifs. Certainly one of the better known is the kir. In our youth, it was a symbol of sophistication. We imagined sipping a kir in the company of Catherine Deneuve. We’ve added many more fantasies and drinks to our repertoire since then, but we occasionally revisit this staple with delight. To add some colour to your ordinary day, combine a small amount of crème de cassis with a high-acid crisp white wine. Originally from Burgundy, this black currant liqueur is typically blended with Aligoté to soften the grape’s harsh acid. If you want the true Burgundian experience, partner up L’Héritier Guyot crème de cassis with Jaffelin Aligoté. Otherwise, a simple Sauvignon Blanc such as the Lurton Fumées Blanches can substitute for the Aligoté. When you’re feeling splashy, a kir royale sets the tone at a gala event. Just replace the white wine with something bubbly. Our good friend pastis is as well-known as the kir, but sadly not as widely embraced. Just the thought of its refreshing salty, herbal and black licorice flavours makes us dream about the sunny Mediterranean. It is essential drinking while playing pétanque (the French version of bocce) on a hot and lazy afternoon. Most people drink pastis prior to lunch or dinner, but we actually love it best at brunch just before our croque monsieur arrives. If you wish to explore the wonderful world of pastis, pull up a bar stool at Vancouver’s Pastis restaurant and ask owner John Blakeley to pour you a flight from his extensive selection. It’s a real treat. The liquor store carries only the two largest brands: Ricard and Pernod. The former tends to be slightly drier than the latter. If licorice is simply not to your taste, perhaps Lillet will tempt you. Created in 1887, it is a blend of fruit liqueurs and wine from the Bordeaux region. The ingredients are very exotic, including sweet oranges from the south of Spain, bitter oranges from Haiti, green oranges from Morocco and Tunisia and quinine from Peru. The drink itself is just as intriguing; slightly sweet with orange peel and mar-

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John Blakely with his pastis collection at his Vancouver restaurant Pastis malade flavours. Spring is the perfect time to acquaint yourself with Lillet and introduce it to your friends. If you have an open bottle, use it in cocktails instead of Triple Sec. When the French aren’t sipping Lillet, they’re toasting the start of the weekend with a glass of Pineau des Charentes. Made in the region of Cognac in France, Pineau des Charentes is what is known as a mistelle, meaning that grape brandy (cognac) is added to wine before it starts fermenting. The result is sweet and fairly high in alcohol, at least 15 percent. Rich and nutty, Château Guynot is a favourite. It can be found by the glass at Au Petit Chavignol, a restaurant recently opened by the owners of cheese shop Les Amis du Fromage. Pommeau de Normandie is yet another French gem. Just like the Pineau des

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Charentes, it’s a type of mistelle. Instead of using wine as a base, it is made by blending unfermented apple cider and calvados (apple brandy). Les Français like to drink it as an aperitif, but we can easily drink this with dessert as well. Delicious flavours of red apple and a slight hint of caramel will definitely stimulate your appetite but also work like a charm with cheese or tarte tatin. Both Shangri-la in Vancouver and Bearfoot Bistro in Whistler offer the Coeur de Lion Pommeau by the glass. The Portuguese are certainly not exempt from the pre-dinner drink culture. While we generally tend to think of port as an after-dinner proposition, Europeans sometimes indulge in it before the meal. Most port is simply too sweet for our tastes to embrace this early in the evening, with one exception: white port. Made with white grapes rather than red, it is surprisingly thirst-quenching served on ice and topped with soda water and a fresh mint leaf. Offer this cocktail at your next barbecue gathering and you’ll be amazed at the rave reviews. Once open, keep the bottle in the fridge. It should last about a week. We couldn’t leave the world of aperitifs without going to Italy. The northern city of Turin is said to be the birthplace of the aperitif because it was here that vermouth was created, a fortified wine aromatized with herbs and spices. Dry vermouth is generally relegated to a supporting role in a gin martini or used as a cooking ingredient. Starring on its own, sweet vermouth is a classic before-dinner drink (the bianco is less sweet than the rosso). In our opinion, though, the greatest aperitif the Italians have ever made is Campari. If we had to choose, this would be our favourite appetite stimulator of all time. (Don’t tell the French.) Campari’s exact recipe remains a mystery, but it is referred to as a bitters. Apparently, it is infused with up to 60 different ingredients. Slightly bitter with herbal and orange notes, it is extra refreshing when cut with soda. Purely medicinal, of course! Just the thought of all these delicious concoctions has made us thirsty. An article written and our duties done, it’s now time for our daily medicine. C’est l’heure de l’apéritif!


T a s t i n g

N o t e s

Taylor Fladgate, White Port - $22.60 SKU #164129 The original creators of white port and the only one available in our market. Its inherent sweetness can be deliciously tempered with soda water and fresh mint. An ideal foil for salty nuts.

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Coeur de Lion, Pommeau de Normandie - $27.50 SKU #276592 * A class act when served chilled in a sparkling wineglass. Enjoy as an aperitif with Oyama’s pâté normand, with a dessert of apple tart or anytime with cheese.

Château Guynot, ‘Vieux’ Pineau des Charentes - $34.95 SKU #414607 * Serve cold in a wineglass or, if you’re feeling fancy, a champagne flute. The beautiful unctuous flavours of nuts and orange will work like a charm with a pre-dinner foie gras pâté.

Lillet - $19.76 SKU #32631 Explosive and refreshing flavours of marmalade and orange blossom tantalize your palate and get you ready for dinner. The Bordelais typically serve it on the rocks with a slice of orange.

Ricard, Pastis de Marseille 45 - $29.99 SKU #15693 The aperitif that Michelle was weaned on. Serve on the rocks with a side of water. The yellow anis-flavoured liqueur turns cloudy when water is added. Don’t worry, that’s normal. Add approximately four parts water to one part pastis, or whatever proportion you prefer. L’Héritier Guyot, Crème de Cassis de Dijon - $29.57 SKU #132241 Pour one part cassis into a wineglass and add five parts of a crisp dry white such as the Jaffelin, Aligoté ($19.99 - SKU #53868) or the Lurton, Les Fumées Blanches ($11.99 - SKU #472555). For a kir royale, substitute the white wine with a sparkling wine like the Blasons de Bourgogne, Crémant de Bourgogne ($24.99 - SKU #657742) or the Segura Viudas, Brut Reserva Cava ($15.99 - SKU #158493). Once open, cassis will last about four months. Also a great cooking ingredient. 2008 Elephant Island Framboise - $19.90 (375 mL)** For a local twist on a kir, replace the French crème de cassis with one of Elephant Island’s fruit liqueurs. We highly recommend their Framboise. This is about as intense as raspberries can get. Use as above.

Campari - $26.99 SKU #277954 A staple in our liquor cabinet. Fantastic with soda, but also a key ingredient in our favourite cocktail: the Negroni (equal parts Campari, red vermouth and gin; shaken and served up in a martini glass. The combination of sweet and bitter makes it one of the most perfect drinks to stimulate the appetite.) *Available at private wine stores **Available at the Naramata winery and private wine stores MAY | JUNE 2009



Momos, Java and Tacones

Pandora Ave. resident Treve Ring offers up her take on the historic street in some quick and tasty bites. PANDORA AVENUE (500-700 block) is anchored by the Blue Bridge, abutted by Market and Centennial squares, and address to government offices, hotels, loft dwellers and migrants. Fought over by Old Town, The Design District and Chinatown, Lower Pandora’s first construction boom dates back to the 1880s. It is one of the last streets between downtown and industrial land, making for just enough fringe to allow for creative hipsters to co-habit comfortably next door to City Hall. Heritage restorations are bringing new residents, merchants and travellers to the block, feeding the bloom of pocket-sized cafés popping up along its sidewalks. Weekday suits and briefcases are replaced by weekend brunch line-ups and bikes, and Pandora’s theatre-goers, pub-crawlers and train-catchers have their pick of coffee spots and whole food eateries. Here’s a culinary map of the block: Swans—the Art Hotel—is home to popular live music at Swans Brewpub, has on-tap craft beer brewed on site, plus 750-mL bottles to go at their beer and wine store (oatmeal stout a favourite). As well, its Wild Saffron Bistro is filled with upscale and arty Pacific Rim fare. 506 Pandora Ave., Across the street is historic Market Square, an open-air complex with a mix of retail, office and eats. Of note? Green Cuisine—a vegan, pay-by-weight buffet with a rotating lineup of virtuous fare; Tibetan Kitchen—a tiny one-woman, window-front, momo machine run by Pemba Bhatia, the daughter of Tibetan refugees; One Fish Two Fish—the portable Ocean Wise outpost of Wharf Street’s sustainable Red Fish Blue Fish, and the home of the city’s best fish tacones. 560 Pandora Ave,,, Right outside the entrance to Market Square is Solstice Café, a funky place for organic and/or locally produced foodstuffs, light lunches and organic, fair trade coffee and tea. It also moonlights most nights as a live performance venue. 529 Pandora Ave, Directly across the street you’ll find Victoria’s best espresso, baristas that give a damn,

rotating art exhibits, a formidable vinyl collection and a loyal congregation of hipsters in need of a caffeine fix. Habit coffee + culture’s open and laid-back vibe is as addictive as its customroasted direct trade Hines Public Market Coffee. 522 Pandora Ave. Conveniently next door is Mo:Lé Restaurant. Convenient, since you can sip a coffee in habit while waiting for your table (and do be prepared to wait). Chef Cosmo Means’s deliciously healthful foodstuffs earned him a spot on the Canadian Triathlon Team—as chef. Hopping and family-friendly, serving food that’s locally sourced and lovingly prepared. 554 Pandora Ave., Chef Means’s magic touch reaches all the way next door—he’s part owner of Café Bliss, an organic, live-food juice bar. No time to chew? Pop in and rejuvenate with vital energy elixirs and super-food smoothies. 556 Pandora Ave., Kitty-corner you’ll land at wi-fi hotspot Red Dragon Bistro. Lots of seating, including a Pandora-fronting patio, plus house-made breakfasts, soups and pastries, make this a favourite with the lunch suits. And that smell wafting through the hood? That’s them—roasting small batches of farmer-friendly organic beans. 1480 Government St., A couple minutes up the road takes you to the brand-new Vintage Spirits store in the Hotel Rialto, currently undergoing a heritage restoration. Vintage is stylish and well-researched with a nice selection from Yellow Tail to ’05 Bordeaux. *Note: The hotel’s website mentions Veneto Restaurant and Brevé are opening May 1. Is there anyone who hasn’t lined up for breakfast at John’s Place? Owner John Cantin’s diner is easy to find; just look for the lineup out the door and down the block. Big portions, little prices. Colourful, fun and eclectic sums up the staff, decor and food. 723 Pandora Ave., A few doors up takes you worlds away. The Black Olive prides itself on its classic Mediterranean cuisine. The rack of lamb gets rave reviews, as does owner Paul Psyllakis’s Kastamonitsa Cold Pressed Olive Oil, available for purchase in the restaurant or local grocery stores. 739 Pandora Ave,


For dinner out, a family gathering, home parties or kicking back at the cabin, Tinhorn Creek has the wines for the occasion.  Celebrating our 15th anniversary with a fresh look, we are proud to show you our 100% estate-grown varietal line up and Oldfield Series wines.  At Tinhorn Creek we sustainably farm our land and create wines of merit. Our 150 acres of vineyards are located on two unique and diverse south Okanagan sites: the Golden Mile and the Black Sage bench. Our ability to blend the grapes from these vineyards and capture the best characteristics of each site sets us apart.  Visit our spectacular estate winery in Oliver, BC and experience for yourself. We will welcome you with open arms. NATURALLY SOUTH OKANAGAN



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EAT Magazine May | June 2009  
EAT Magazine May | June 2009  

Celebrating Food & Drink