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In Search of Terroir Bella Italia From Farm to Table Love and Poultry at Polderside An Empire in Gastown The Story of Sean Heather Interview: Winemaker Sandra Oldfield Culinary Artisan Chef Laurence Munn

Slow-roasted rack of Berkshire pork w/cider

March/April 2008


issue 12:02 since 1998 | more content

10th Anniversary Year




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March/April 2008

CONTENTS Tinhorn Creek


Page 38



Page 44

Anatomy of an Empire

Page 48

Rebecca Wellman

Sandra Oldfield of the Okanagan’s Tinhorn Creek

Laurence Munn of Cafe Brio

Tracey Kusiewicz

Pg. 44

Sean Heather’s Gastown fiefdom

Pg. 48

Page 50

Polderside Farm A cook’s tour

G. Hynes

Pg. 50





























Editor Gary Hynes Vancouver Editor Andrew Morrison Contributing Editor Carolyn Bateman Contributors Larry Arnold, Michelle Bouffard, Jennifer Danter, Pam

seaside sushi Join us in celebrating the grand opening of our new oceanfront Sushi & Sake Bar, available daily from noon - 10pm in the SeaGrille & Pub. SeaGrille Hours: 5:30pm - 11pm Pub Hours: 11:30am to 11pm

Durkin, Andrei Fedorov, Jeremy Ferguson, Nathan Fong, Lorraine Forster, Duncan Holmes, Tracey Kusiewicz, Tara Lee, Ceara Lornie, Hans Peter Meyer, Michaela Morris, Andrew Morrison, Julie Pegg, Treve Ring, Kira Rogers, Jennifer Schell, Shelora Sheldan, John Sherlock, Elizabeth Smyth, Chris Mason Stearns, Michael Tourigny, Sylvia Weinstock, Rebecca Wellman

Art Direction Gary Hynes Publisher Pacific Island Gourmet | EAT ® is a registered trademark. Advertising: Vancouver (Paul Kamon), Victoria (Lorraine Browne), Courtenay (Kate Shea), Tofino (Kira Rogers) 250.384.9042, All departments Box 5225, Victoria, BC, V8R 6N4 tel. 250-384-9042, fax. 250-384-6915

SUBSCRIPTION RATES: $25 for one year (plus GST) in Canada. To subscribe, contact EAT Magazine at the number or address above or email Published 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.

Brentwood Bay Lodge & Spa • 849 Verdier Ave • Victoria, BC Reservations 544.2079 •

eat fish. drink wine. live long.

CONTRIBUTORS Tara Lee is a Vancouver-based freelance writer who feels privileged to be able to combine her two passions: food and words. Her work has appeared in such publications as EAT, The Georgia Straight, The Vancouver Sun, and Northwest Palate. Tara also teaches in the English Department at the University of British Columbia.



he pig in all its porcine glory is finally getting its due on BC menus. After years of thinking of pork as a poor cousin to beef or chicken, many chefs are finding what other cultures have known for ages – that pork is one of the most succulent and remarkably versatile meats. From a whole spit-roasted suckling pig to Asian stir-fries and southern pulled pork and barbecue dishes, the pig’s new found celebrity is being embraced by top restaurants and small farm producers. On a recent trip to Vancouver I ate a brilliant ungreasy pork schnitzel at Fuel for lunch and then at dinner slices off a luscious pork leg at nearby Gastropod. In Victoria, Smoken Bones Cookshack has taken the suburbs by storm with its earthy and flavourful spareribs while downtown at the aptly named PIG their $5 pulled pork sandwiches have a steady line-up of takers. Up Island in Qualicum Beach, Sloping Hill Farm offers several breeds of “happy pigs” raised naturally on a small farm. Back in Victoria, Choux Choux makes their fine charcuterie with this same Sloping Hills pork. In Vancouver, Nikuya Meats on Broadway near Renfrew, a small Japanese butcher shop, will sell you thin, premium slices of Snake River Farms American Kurobuta Pork. We celebrate BC pork on the cover of this issue with a Slow-roasted Rack of Berkshire Pork complete with a dome of finger-licking, crispy crackling. Elsewhere in this issue EAT kicks-off its 10th Year celebrations with a mammoth prize giveaway for participating in the 10th Anniversary Reader Survey. I can’t believe it’s been ten years since I started EAT to cover the local food, wine and restaurant scene! I felt strongly, as I still do, that EAT has some of the most dedicated and curious writers around and I feel very privileged to have had a front row seat to this extraordinary blossoming of the culinary arts in British Columbia. Please take a moment to fill in the online survey. I’d like to know what you’d like to see within the pages of EAT in the years ahead. To cap off a great ten years, EAT has just been awarded Best Food Magazine of the Year by Urban Diner, who’s members are made up of chefs, restaurateurs, managers, servers, sommeliers and publicists from BC’s food and beverage community. Many, many thanks for the vote of appreciation. Bon appetit, Gary Hynes, Editor, EAT

On the Cover: Pork Roast photo by Michael Tourigny, 250.389.1856 See page 33 for the recipe.

Sustainable Seafood

Gary Hynes

EAT contributor Jennifer Danter prepares her Cilantro & Parsley Crumb-Coated Halibut. See page 36 for the recipe

March marks the beginning of halibut season, which is good news for fish lovers and environmentalists alike. While chefs and home cooks both adore its fresh succulent taste and texture, halibut gets the thumbs-up for being an ocean-friendly choice – and here’s why: *Halibut is caught using bottom longlines – a central fishing line with offshoots of smaller lines with baited hooks. This has minimal impact on the ocean floor habitat and doesn’t interfere with the habitats of other ocean dwellers. Plus it also minimizes the unwanted catch of seabirds. *Quotas help ensure sustainability and prevent over fishing. Quotas are based on the previous year’s catch information collated with the findings from biological surveys and population estimates. *According to the Pacific Halibut Fishery in British Columbia, the status of wild halibut is a “low” conservation concern. The fish are regulated by a fixed exploitation rate that ensures spawning biomass is not harvested. Fishing for more info on sustainability? Check out or To learn more about good seafood choices log onto:

March/April 2008

EVENTS Send listings to EVENT CALENDAR at at least six weeks prior to the issue in which the listing should appear.





March 10 | Chefs' Table Society Fundraising Dinner The Chefs’ Table Society (CTS) of BC will hold a dinner at Elixir bistro moderne at the Opus Hotel. The theme of this exclusive evening is fermentation and cultured food, featuring canapés and a six course dinner prepared by a collaboration of Vancouver’s top restaurants. Tickets are $250.00 for six courses including wine pairings, with net proceeds going towards the creation of bursaries and scholarships for young, emerging and student chefs through the CTS and can be purchase by calling Elixir at (604) 642-0557. March 11 | Primum Familiae Vini Gala Wine Dinner Four Seasons Hotel, 6:30pm Reception, 7:15pm Dinner, $350. inclusive. A consortium of pretiquous international wineries strut their stuff with a menu preapred by Executive Chef Rafael Gonzales. Proceeds benefit BC Mental Health. 604 844.6714 March 12 | Three Decades of Faiveley Series of dinners celebrating Le Gavroche’s 30th anniversary. 604 685.3924 April 2 | California Wine Fair California consumer wine tasting, 7:00-9:30pm, Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre, 1800-558-CORK (2675), April 7 | BC Restaurant Hall of Fame Induction Gala April 19 | Bike the Blossoms Slow Food Vancouver, in partnership with the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, is launching a truly, beautiful Vancouver Spring experience in our city – the Slow Food BIKE THE BLOSSOMS. This unique event will see participants embark on a leisurely cycle along designated City bike routes to view the peak blossoming of Kanzan cherry trees, stopping along the way to enjoy the culinary pleasures of eight of Vancouver’s unique eateries and coffee houses selected by Slow Food. The routes will also include special stops showcasing Fraser Valley farmers (partnered with local host businesses), where cyclists will be able to sample local and artisan foods with an opportunity to speak with these local producers. 9 am – 4 pm (this is not a race – start & finish when you like) REGISTRATION: 9 am – 12 pm (prior online registration recommended) START PLACE: VANDUSEN BOTANICAL GARDEN, 5251 Oak St. west parking lot (parking on Oak & 37th streets only) COST: FREE TO ALL April 25 | Fourth Annual Community and Education Symposium At the UBC Farm This symposium is intended to be a celebration of the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems’ ongoing community-oriented and related projects, and a catalyst for strengthening and expanding the linkages between the Centre, the University, and surrounding communities. Neighbours, students, practitioners, industry, NGO, university, and government representatives are invited to attend. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to Tegan Adams at by April 18th, 2008. On-going | Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts Professional Classes. Visit for further details. On-going | Fridays at Figmint Bg Ben, Brit Pop, Pimm’s No. 1 Cocktail. 500 West 12th @ Cambie, On-going | EBC Market Tours Edible British Columbia continues its bi-weekly market tours of Granville Island Market. For more information or to book online, visit

March 3 | Growing Local Organic Wheat for Specialty Markets 8:30 am - 4:30 pm. 2nd floor, Shoal Center, 10030 Resthaven Drive, Sidney, B.C. Bring your lunch and your coffee cup! $50 per person. Send a cheque payable to Sharon Rempel to 3741 Metchosin Road, Victoria, B.C. V9C 4A8. Workshop limited to 25 people. Sign up today! call 250-298-1133. March 5-9 | International Dining Series Next stop is Canada (focus is on favourites from Quebec, Alberta beef and BC seafood). The Westin Bear Mountain Victoria Golf Resort & Spa or call 1.888.533.BEAR. March 8 | Just Desserts Simply Elegant Cuisine will be providing the delectables in aid of the Victoria SPCA. A-Channel Studios. March 15 | Byron Cook Byron Cook, the head gardener at Sooke Harbour House, will share how he grows and forages the wonderful array of tasty greens and flowers that appear on the salad plates throughout the seasons at this famous restaurant. Explore the many possibilities of composing your own organic salad with tips on growing and suggestions for unusual seed sources. 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. $15.00 including GST, Abkhazi Garden, 1964 Fairfield Rd., Call 5988096 for more information and to reserve your space. March 23 | Easter Brunch & Easter Egg Hunt Laurel Point’s weekly Sunday Buffet Brunch invites the bunny along this Easter Sunday. Special children’s room and activities. Brunch Info Line 414 6732. March 28 | Cidermaster Series at Sea Cider Cellar Master Alistair Bell will lead the first of a series of evenings on cider appreciation and sensory analysis, explaining the nuances of traditional cider styles as guests pair ciders with a tempting selection of cider inspired bites. 6:30 – 8:00pm. $35. 544 4824 March 29 | Victoria Wine Society Year End Wrap Up and Mini Wine Festival Glenn Barlow has turned the last event of his fiscal year into a mini Wine Festival. At press time, seminars were in the works, a Rare Wines tasting and a food /wine walk about event in the evening. Check for more details or call 592 8466. Ambrosia Event Centre. March 29 | Sooke Harbour House Wine Tasting Series Taste some of the amazing wine from the Wine Spectator Grand Award cellar. The popular series continues with North vs South – a look at how climate and geography has shaped the wines of Europe’s most traditional wine regions. $50 per person. Reservations required. 3:30 – 5pm 642 3421. April 5th & 6th | Taste Washington Seattle Bell Harbor International Conference Center & Qwest Events Center. Over 200 Wineries and 30 Restaurants already on board! April 24 | 12th Annual Phantom Dinner This popular event benefits Santa’s Anonymous. Lucky guests will enjoy a magnificent dinner specifically created for this night, by one of Greater Victoria’s finest restaurants. You will not know, until the Phantom Reception on the night of the 24th, where you and your table of 8 and your group will be dining! Reception at O Bistro, Oswego Hotel. 6pm. Brought to you by the Victoria Branch of the BC Restaurant and Foodservice Association. 386 6368. April 26 | Ottavio's Big Cheese Cut Come see the kitchen boys & girls of Ottavio cut the largest wheels of cheese made in the world today. Watch as they crack, cut & slice their way through the world’s oldest cheeses & learn

Dine Around Victoria February 21 – March 9 As of press time, 55 restaurants and 28 hotels have signed up for this popular annual event. During the 18-day festival each day Secret Diners will fan out across Victoria and anonymously visit participating restaurants to sample the menus and wines—the next day their review will appear online. To read all about it go to about the animals & families that have produced these beauties for generations. They will cut 5 cheeses, from the 30lb English Blue Stilton to the 225lb Organic Swiss Mountain Emmenthaler. Bring the family & taste the history & tradition of the cheese making craft. 11am. Ottavio Italian Bakery & Delicatessen. 2272 Oak Bay Ave. 592 4080. May 25 | The ICC Local Food Festival "Defending our Backyard" at Fort Rodd Hill, This Event is to raise awareness and the challenges of local food production and sustainability within the region of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. Many non profit and applicable resource groups will be on hand to help promote these issues. Educational seminars of all facets on local production, top chefs, restaurateurs, local producers and concerned citizens will also be on site for this event. Live entertainment, great local food and drinks will be there to help ensure a great day for families and all attendees. Tickets are available through your local VQA shops and ICC members restaurants. May 31-June 7 | A Gastronomical Tour of Tuscany Join Chef Angelo Prosperi-Porta of Cooper’s Cove Guesthouse as he returns to Tuscany in search of more inspiration from the freshest ingredients and traditional dishes of Italy for his interactive dinners and cooking classes. Visit or or contact Angelo at June 6-8 | Ultimate Test Drive Weekend on Vancouver Island Join Edible British Columbia founder Eric Pateman on a three day culinary adventure behind the wheel of a new high performance Audi. Groups are limited to 12 lucky people (6 couples). Drive on some of BC’s most scenic roads while learning about and sampling firsthand BC’s best local foods. The Spring tour showcases Sooke and area. Other dates and locations include April 11-13 (Okanagan), September 19-21 (Okanagan), October 10-12 (Tofino and area). August 23 | Taste of Scotland Whisky Tour The An Quaich Scotch Malt Whisky Society of Canada, in cooperation with Perfect Planning, is putting on this 16 day tour to showcase the history, similarities, and differences of the finest distilleries in the Lowlands, Highlands, Speyside and Islands of Scotland. For more information contact David Matthew 250 767 0093. October 24 | Paris to Prague Join Victoria sommelier Stuart Brown on an intimate 12 day culinary and wine journey though the regions of central Europe. For more information contact Rick at 595 1181 or

ONGOING Sanuk Sommelier Series of Wine Multi-course Wine Dinners at Sanuk with PanAsian menus created by Chef Patrick Lynch. (dates to be announced) More more info: 250920 -4844 or Every Tuesday at 2pm - Coffee Cupping at Habit Coffee & Culture. Come join the fantastic and knowledgeable staff at Habit in a formal coffee tasting, involving all the senses. Learn about their specialty beans and roasts. 552 Pandora Ave. 294 1127 To March 20 - Spring Prelude Afternoon Tea package This package includes admission to The Butchart Gardens and Afternoon Tea. $36.65. 250 652 8222. To April 28 – East Meets West Tea Tasting Menu at The Mark The Hotel Grand Pacific’s ‘restaurant within a restaurant’ presents this inspired Tea Tasting Menu, developed by Chefs Rick Choy and Michael Minshull. $75 per person. To the end of 2008 - Celebrate 100 years of Fine Dining with The Empress To mark their 100th anniversary this year, the Empress Room will be featuring a Table D’hote Menu featuring menu items from throughout our last 100 years. They will have monthly themes such as “Classics from the Past�, “ Royal Visits�, “Favourites of Francis Rattenbury�, “Dining during the Prohibition Years�. Menus will range from $75 to $95 per person, and wine pairings will be optional. Dining Reservations at 995 4688. Cooper’s Cove Guesthouse Tuscany Tour This spring for a one week food, wine and cooking tour. or toll free 1877-642-5727



March 15 | St Patrick's Day Celebrations McLean's Specialty Foods will celebrate St Patrick's Day with select Irish cheeses and condiments and all things green! Live music will be provided by special guest, master piper Bill Poppy who will entertain customers playing the Uilleann pipes, the traditional Irish bagpipes. Nanaimo. March 24 & April 28 | Bayside Wine Club Shop and stock in a relaxed environment, while sampling wines and entering to win great prizes. Free reusable 6-bottle wine totes with purchase of 6 bottles. $5 tasting fee. 6:308pm. Bayside Wine & Spirits at the Quality Resort Bayside, Parksville. 250 248 8333 April 6th | Classes at Fairburn Farm Stinging Nettle Festival A Celebration of the Spontaneous Greens of Spring! Spring Boot Camp 6 Days of Extreme Cooking! Fairburn Farm Culinary Retreat and Guesthouse 250 746-4637 April 6 | McLean's 16th Anniversary From its modest beginnings in 1992, McLean's has grown to become a major foodie stop on Vancouver Island. Join them for their birthday celebrations, to continue throughout April. Saturdays | Wine Tastings at Gabriola Island Village Liquor Store Samplings of import and BC wines. 2-5 pm at the Village Liquor Store at Folklife Village, Gabriola Island.




March 22 | Quails' Gate Library Tasting A tutored tasting and comparison of older vintages from Quails' Gate Wine Library. 1.800 420.9463 ext 221 April 4 | Okanagan Fest of Ale Penticton Trade & Convention Centre, 250 492.4355

CANADA April 4-6 | Toronto Wine & Cheese Show





by Shelora Sheldan

Diner Lunch, Pasta Dinner From Duncan to Zambri’s, and a stop for a drink along the way.

Curiosity piqued, I decided to do a back-to-back tasting of three linguines. I chose my old standby, Unico, and two Italian-made versions that cost slightly higher, De Cecco and La Molisana. - available at most delis and specialty foods stores. Holding them up to the light, Unico had evenly coloured strands with a thin profile. La Molisana was thicker and sturdier to the touch with a brown speckling throughout. And De Cecco, the thickest and sturdiest of the bunch, had white speckling. Both specialty brands use quality hard wheat, and that speckling is the result of bronze dies (the device that stamps the shape of the pasta) used in the extrusion process. Industrial brands like Unico generally use Teflon-coated dies for ease of production. The bronze dies create more texture to the end product, which in turn allows sauces to adhere to the pasta. In addition, De Cecco and La Molisana employ a slow, low-heat drying method, and only De Cecco (as far as I can confirm) has the advantage of using its own spring water. That’s some pedigree. I can’t stress enough the importance of a large pot with lots of boiling salted water to cook the noodles in. I’ve made this mistake numerous times, blindly throwing in too much pasta, which then sticks together, creating a frustrating mess. Give it lots of room to move around in. This ensures even cooking, happy noodles, and most important, happy diners. At Peter’s suggestion, I did not time any of them. “Don’t read the cooking instructions on the box,” he said. “Taste every five minutes or so.” I tasted them until they reached my preference for al dente, meaning to the tooth. You don’t want mushy. Once drained, I tossed them all in extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. That’s the other thing—drain, toss and serve. Do not rinse your pasta. You may have walked by Zambri’s when they are busy in prep-mode and noticed big sheet pans of pasta cooling off on the counter. “The reason that you do not want to rinse it is two-fold,” Peter explained. “First, you are washing away flavour and starch that is inherent to wheat products, and second, the pasta will be all wet and this moisture will soften the fibres of the pasta product rendering it gummy and soft.” (By the way, that pasta water can also be put to good use when you have a sauce that is too thick.) If you really need to cook ahead of time, Peter suggests that once the pasta is steaming itself dry on a sheet pan, you can apply a thin veil of oil to keep the pieces from sticking to each other. “A little oil goes a long way,” he cautions. “Two to three tablespoons is ample for a 500-gram package of pasta.” Once the pasta has cooled, it can be stored - refrigerated - in an airtight container for a few days. Back to the tasting. The De Cecco produced a noodle with enjoyable texture—it engaged the mouth. La Molisana also had substance with a slightly more delicate mouth feel, and the Unico was bland and flimsy by comparison. On the upside, the flimsiness made it more conducive to slurping. Curious to see whether bronze dies really made a difference in how the pasta adhered to tomato sauce, I cooked up another batch. Both specialty brands embraced the sauce as promised. The Unico was noncommittal; together, but hesitant to go all the way. And then I overcooked a batch. After 20 minutes of a rolling boil, the Unico noodles were reminiscent of those found in canned chicken soup, but the De Cecco still had chew to it. What a trooper! Although I’m a new recruit to De Cecco, there’s essentially nothing wrong with Unico products. They’re very consistent and economical and some of their shapes like Scooby Doo make killer macaroni and cheese. I think of it as an old reliable friend whereas the higher quality, more artisanal brands are like dining with A-list celebrities. When you come right down to it, even at a few dollars more, pasta is still an inexpensive ingredient, one that can be enjoyed in myriad simple ways shared with people you like, celebrities or not.

Rebecca Wellman

Peter Zambri’s Quick and Easy Tomato Sauce Make about 3 cups. One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes 1 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 4 to 5 fresh basil leaves Salt and pepper

Chef / Co-owner Peter Zambri with pasta and quick tomato sauce

Squeeze each tomato (the fun part) into a saucepan. Add the olive oil, basil, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Mash down any large tomato pieces with a potato masher, obtaining an even but coarse texture.

The Three Linguines


ooking pasta seems so straightforward: boil water, cook pasta until done, drain and serve. But when you start to take a closer look—and taste—at the pasta brands available, subtle nuances are at play that can affect the end result. On a recent visit to Zambri’s, I asked Peter Zambri what he prefers to use. “We use De Cecco, it’s a hard pasta,” he said. “The harder the pasta the better for restaurant use because you have to cook it and then reheat to order. We also use La Molisana for an eggbased pasta, and Riscossa. Those are the ones that have proven to be good consistently.”



On the Road Again From now on, when cowgirl tendencies emerge, my buckaroo and I will mosey over to the Smokin’ Spur Diner in Duncan. The faux-log-cabin exterior was the first sign of promise as we pulled our wagon off the highway one Saturday afternoon. The interior, with its cozy-up booths, reveals a patina that attests to its 20 years of operation. The room was packed—a game on TV had the inhabitants enthralled—so we entered the adjoining Buckles Dining Room for the promise of a seat.

Festooned with cowboy memorabilia like guitars, antlers, taxidermy and an extensive collection of belt buckles, the room is instantly uplifting. Communal tables throughout are lacecovered, some inset into nooks with fake window treatments. You could well imagine you were paying a visit to the renegade faction of the Walton family. Our visit took place over the holiday season where twinkling lights and baubles—even on a stuffed moose head—added another layer to the room’s lowbrow magnificence. The menu is pure unadulterated home cooking—breakfast, lunch and dinner—with no-nonsense waitresses working the room with consummate efficiency. While heaping platters of breakfast fare whizzed past, we settled on the Spar burger, promising an all-beef patty with bacon and cheese. The sesame-topped bun handled the ingredients well. The bacon was meaty, the Cheddar perfectly melted. The cook’s touch of soaking the onions first to rid them of that intense raw taste was noted and greatly appreciated. There was a little char on the patty, and we hunkered down to one of the best damn burgers we’ve had in years. The accompanying fries were piping hot and of ample girth. The coffee was dark, thick and refills free. In short, perfection. When I spoke to the owner and head cook Linda Smith a few days later, she assured me that everything is made in-house: from freshly baked bread every morning to soups, gravies, sauces and her own hamburger patties. Those fries were hand cut from Kennebec potatoes and the veal cutlets for the dinner-for-two specials are prepared by Smith and a few assistants, seven days a week. So bid “happy trails” to those city slicker small plates menus and say “howdy” to the honest-to-goodness big plates of Buckles and the Smokin Spur Diner. Yee haw! Smokin’ Spur Diner, 460 Trans-Canada Hwy, 250-748-7757


Orange Crushed Over the holiday season, I was given a litre bottle of A. Monteux orange flower water. The water hails from Grasser, the French capital of perfumes and scents, and is made from the macerated and distilled blossoms of Seville oranges. I’ve taken to splashing it on my face and neck in between bouts at the computer; its intense floral fragrance is a refreshing pick-me-up. You can also use it to freshen up linens—just add to a spritzer bottle. You might not be able to change the world, but you can at least help it smell better. The flavour tastes like its aroma: imagine eating the flower’s petal and there you have it. Used sparingly, it finds its way into French and Middle Eastern desserts. And any bartender worth his weight in swizzle sticks will have a bottle on hand, including Chris Flett of Vancouver’s Chow restaurant. A proponent of classic cocktail culture—“drinks with a pedigree,” he says—Flett uses the water in the decidedly old-school Ramos Gin Fizz, a cocktail created circa 1888 by Harry C. Ramos in New Orleans. “I love drinks that are process-driven,” states Flett, “that have a story attached to them. Ramos used to employ dozens of shaker boys at his bar, just to get the consistency right.” The shaking of the gin-based drink is needed to incorporate the egg white and cream, integral parts of the recipe along with lemon and lime juices and the orange flower water for a delicate perfume. Flett suggests using an eyedropper to control the amount used, noting, “You don’t want it to taste like an orange creamsicle.” The drink is shaken by three people at Chow and served traditionally in a Collins glass. Unfortunately, I only have one shaker boy at my house, so we’ll be taking as long as needed. Ramos Gin Fizz Fill a shaker with ice and add the following: 1 1/2 oz gin 1/2 oz lemon juice 1/2 oz lime juice 1/2 oz heavy cream 1 medium egg white 1 1/4 oz simple syrup 2 dashes orange flower water (use an eyedropper) Shake until you achieve a creamy, almost meringue-like texture. Strain into a Collins glass and top with 2 to 3 ounces soda water. Note: If you double the recipe, still use only one egg white.


...and juicy. This tender and juicy meat comes from premium, grain-fed, Canadian Pork, making it an extraordinary eating experience. Available now, exclusively at Thrifty Foods.

Recipes from the Chef Instructors of the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts henever I see a cookbook that is spiral bound I know its author is serious about the reader using the recipes inside. A book bound with spiral rings is the best kind of cookbook as it lies flat on the table making it easy to keep the page open. The Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, based in Vancouver near the Granville Island Market, is one of the country’s top cooking schools and attract the best instructors. PICA Founder and President Sue Singer has pulled together the best recipes from the school’s instructors to celebrate the school’s tenth anniversary. Julian Bond, Executive Chef and Program Director, along with the nine other instructors offer up a range of recipes from appetizers such as Baked Mussels with Spicy Tomato Basil Garlic Butter to entrées like Togarashi Crusted Albacore Tuna, Seared Tofu and Peanut Lime Sauce. The high quality of the recipes in this book bode well not only for the students at the Institute but the population at large who will one day be the recipients of this cooking knowledge. For a copy of Cooking with Class contact the school at 1-800-416-4040.




by Julie Pegg

From Flowerpot to Cook Pot Spurred on by today’s culinary chant, “fresh, local, organic,” our FM columnist Julie Pegg tries her hand at planning and replanting an all-edible garden on her new (and much improved) balcony. wo years ago, 10 seasons’ worth of trial, error and back-breaking effort but ultimate joy spiralled down the drain. “Leaky” condo renovations necessitated stripping our building to its bones and gutting the balconies. How I lamented the loss of my lush little garden that took so long to establish. And how I missed planting, plucking, watering, watching and cosseting. My little plot of pots had evolved into more than a hobby. It was a haven. Most of all I pined for the edibles. In August, some sun worshippers (peppers, cukes, eggplants) liked to cool off in the bright north light. MidJanuary, even a few herbs, kale and chard managed to struggle from flowerpot to cook pot to spike winter stews and add crunch to salads. Despite the disruption and din of stillongoing restoration, I am, at last, blessed with a new deck. Gone are dreary stucco and garish turquoise. In their place are earth tones, spotless glass, jazzy black railings and large stone pavers. When I step outside, the occasional whiff of balmy, briny air teases the senses toward spring. Seed catalogues and back issues of Sunset are strewn on the dining table and desk. The chapter on greenhouse gardening in a 1978 edition of the Illustrated Guide to Gardening in Canada still rings true today. GardenWise and Better Homes and Gardens are two new bookmarks on the Mac. And Crops in Pots (Octopus Publishing, 2007), a wonderful Christmas gift from a dear friend, rekindles the gardening spirit. So, with this year’s bible in hand, limited space and a husband’s plea to leave room for a hotshot barbecue, I plan to grow only edibles. Talk about the hundred-mile diet. Mine’s to be a twelve-step(s) program, the approximate number it takes to get from balcony to table. Starting now.


While wind whips snow into drifts on many of Canada’s balconies, our coastal terraces function like cool greenhouses. If 7º Celsius (or higher) is maintained at night, coolweather crops will begin to pop up in sheltered spaces. By the time you read this I should be snipping at baby lettuces, arugula, spinach and chard, seeded a couple of months ago in easy-to-move pots. Terra cotta can crack with the cold. Flexible plastic pots, while not as attractive, fare better. Later in the season, you can put the plastic ones into terra cotta pots if you like, or you can line clay pots with garbage bags, making sure you poke holes for drainage. On super wet days, plants need to go undercover to avoid developing sodden (and stinky) soil. Oregano, marjoram and other Latin lovers have, for reasons unknown to me, thrived in my less-than-sun-drenched microclimate. No problems either with tarragon, rosemary, thyme or lavender. Ditto bay leaf. And coriander (Chinese parsley), much to the surprise



of many, prefers cooler places. Basil, however, has consistently shunned its shady home. I’ve grown tomatoes with varying success. Sunstroke and blight are common enemies, but I’ve had good harvests from hearty varieties planted against a sun-saturated wall, carefully watered (tomatoes rebel if I take more than a day or two vacation) and fed a healthy diet of nutrients. I’ve had less luck growing heirlooms—more’s the pity. This year I will try again using a simple soaker system (more on that later). A couple of spindly little tomatillo plants, though, did grow up (tomato's relative, needs two to propagate) and rewarded me with hundreds of offspring. Along with my equally prolific jalapeño plants, I was in green salsa heaven. Crops for Pots encourages that couples live together—dwarf peas and sweet peas; red bush tomatoes and small, round yellow zucchini; kohlrabi and shallow-rooted creeping thyme; baby eggplant and tri-coloured sage to name a few. British author Bob Purnell assures readers that fingerling potatoes will “give a high yield of well-formed, slender tubers” and that Chinese cabbage and radicchio get sexy with “shaped and textured leaves.” Fans of berries and currants will be delighted to know that they too can be container cultivated. With luck, the hardy red currant shrub I’ve selected will produce enough fruit for making my favourite jelly. I may have to net the bush to prevent greedy little beaks from nibbling the berries. Purnell also claims blueberries and cranberries prefer containers to gardens, recommending watering with rainwater. Folks with super-sunny decks might try growing a Meyer lemon shrub. Edible flowers include clove pinks (dianthus), cornflowers and cheery, ever reliable violas and pansies. I’ve had great success potting English marigolds and nasturtiums, though the aphids love them (nip them in the bud the minute you sight a few). Incidentally, pickled nasturtium seeds substitute for capers. Toss the huge empty electronics boxes, including the discarded monitor that’s been on the balcony since Christmas. Store the bike elsewhere. Get rid of the bin of bottles. Hit the garden shop. Talk to the staff. Take a course. Buy some seeds. Get online (there is a ton of container garden info there). Get gardening. In a few weeks, we urban gardeners can gather stuff for salads. By late summer, we will harvest peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, fennel, cucumbers and tomatoes (fingers crossed) for ratatouille, fresh salsa, gazpacho, slaws and zesty pasta sauces. Here’s to the hundred feet (or less) diet. Water Systems Eco-friendly watering systems that control the amount of water a plant receives are>

becoming increasingly popular. They include self-watering containers (commercial or homemade), drip-irrigation kits and something called the “Earthbox.” A self-watering container, simply put, is a pot within a pot. A “reservoir” pot contains water. The planted pot is fed from the reservoir through a tube. Rather like the pot-in-saucer practice but somewhat more sophisticated and much more efficient for large containers. Should be available at most garden centres. There’s a humorous You Tube video on how to make a do-it-yourself container. The link is If the video is not longer there by the time readers get this, full instructions can be found at Click on the Self-watering Containers link on the right-hand side of the page. Drip irrigation, common among commercial growers, has now been dumbed down for domestic use. This low-pressure, low-volume, water-saving system trickles water to your plants as needed via vinyl or polyethylene pipe. Digital timers can be added to control on/off watering. Soaker hoses are a form of drip irrigation. The crudest form of the soaker or drip system is a tube with small holes drilled along the sides. You manually water through the tube. It’s suggested for those hard-to-monitor tomatoes. Check out The Earthbox ® is an all-in-one container garden. Read all about it on

We’ve come a long way baby and we want to write about it. In honour of International Women’s Day 2008 the Listel Hotel will collaborate with Geist Magazine in The Art of Writing Your Life. The workshop and retreat is open to all women who would love to learn about memoir writing in the company of women and words. Mary Schendlinger, Senior Editor of Geist, will inspire the ladies to find their writing voice and to find inspiration through writing. —J. Pegg In and out of towners may fancy signing up for the full meal deal, outlined below. • “The Art of Writing Your Life: A Workshop for Women” on March 8 from 1:00pm to 5:00pm; • A single occupancy Gallery Floor room for one night, Saturday March 8; • A half bottle of wine upon arrival (to get those creative juices flowing); • Breakfast in O'Doul's Restaurant & Bar on Sunday, March 9; • French press coffee on the morning of March 9, delivered to your room; • A notebook and elegant pen (to inspire); • A copy of The Listel Hotel's own inspiring Vancouver Stories; • A one year subscription to Geist Magazine. The package is priced at $288.00 CDN (+ applicable taxes and fees) per room based on single occupancy. Bookings are based on availability and can be made by calling 604.684.8461 or 800.663.5491 or by email at Workshop only; $50.00 including a subscription to Geist magazine please call 604-681-9161 or toll free: 1-888-434-7834). For more information go to:

C o m m o n Pu r p o s e

Legendary Noodle House | 1074 Denman St. | Vancouver West End | 604-669-8551

Tang Mian at Denman's Legendary Noodle is as fun to watch being made as it is a pleasure to slurp.


2003 & 2006 International Winemaker of the Year International Wine and Spirit Competition MARCH | APRIL 2008


Tracey Kusiewicz

My Mom used to take me to a Greek restaurant that featured belly dancing on Friday nights. It’s the only thing I remember about being five, and probably the last time I was genuinely thrilled by something in a restaurant that didn’t come on a plate. The “entertainment” factor is pretty negligible in our dining landscape these days, but if you’re keen on a thrill to pair with dinner, try Denman’s Legendary Noodle House. Here, the noodle master pounds the dough, rolls it out and cuts into it with his fingertips until he finds the sweet spot. After pulling it apart into a cat’s cradle of sorts, he stretches the dough out in several streams, twists them vertically, slams them on the table, and then spins them again. Dinner becomes a spectator sport. Go for the almost impossibly large Tang Mian: hand-spun noodles with bamboo, egg and a tongue-trapping hot-andsour broth. At $8.25, it’s a bargain. —A.M.



Tightly coiled FIDDLEHEADS are the unfurled frond tips of the fiddlehead fern. These nutritious, green delicacies taste like a cross between okra, asparagus, green beans and artichokes, and can be used instead of asparagus or artichokes in recipes. Fresh fiddleheads are only available from April to June. Frozen fiddleheads are available year-round. PATTYPAN SQUASH is a round, slightly flat, soft-shelled summer squash with a scalloped edge. Locally grown BABY PATTYPAN SQUASH have edible pale green skin and tender flesh and are almost too cute to eat. Like all baby veggies, BABY CARROTS are sweeter and more tender than their mature counterparts.

by Sylvia Weinstock

Spring Vegetable Fiddlehead & Morel Ragout 1/2 lb. cleaned fiddleheads 1/2 lb. baby pattypan squash, trimmed 1/2 lb. baby carrots, trimmed 3/4 cup shelled fresh peas 1/4 cup unsalted butter 1/2 lb. pearl onions 2 thyme sprigs 1 bay leaf 1 cup chicken broth 1/4 lb. fresh morels 3 tbsp. minced fresh parsley leaves 1 1/2 tbsp. minced fresh mint leaves 1 large garlic clove, minced To clean the fiddleheads, snap off the crisp green fiddlehead tops from the ostrich ferns, leaving about 2 inches of stem attached. Rub the dry brown casings off with your hands. Soak the fiddleheads in a sink half-full of cold water, changing the water several times to remove grit and casing particles. Drain on paper towels. Fiddleheads will keep for a week in the refrigerator in a covered container. In a pot of boiling salted water, boil fiddleheads for 4 minutes until crisp-tender. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them into a bowl of ice and cold water to stop the cooking process, then drain them on paper towels. Boil squash and carrots for 3 minutes until crisp-tender. Remove and place in ice and cold water, then drain on paper towels. Boil the peas 2 to 3 minutes until just tender and drain. Blanch pearl onions in boiling water for 1 minute, peel and remove the skins. In a large heavy skillet, combine 2 tbsp. butter, onions, thyme, bay leaf, 1/4 cup of broth, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Wash morels thoroughly, pat dry and trim. Halve them lengthwise or slice them crosswise. Add morels to the mixture with 1/2 cup of the remaining broth. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes until morels are tender. Add fiddleheads, squash, carrots, and remaining 1/4 cup broth. Simmer the mixture, covered, for 1 minute. Add peas, parsley, mint and garlic. Simmer the ragout, covered, for 1 minute. Cut 2 tbsp. butter into bits and stir into ragout until butter is just melted. Discard bay leaf. Season the ragout with salt and pepper.

It’s time to plant GREEN PEAS so you can savour sweet freshly shelled peas, one of the most delicious garden treats. This cool season crop can be planted once the soil can be easily tilled. Pea pods can be harvested within 57

days of planting. FRESH GREEN PEAS in their pods are available in local markets from April to June. Marble-sized white, red and gold PEARL ONIONS have a mild flavour and a crisp texture. They are available until the end of March, with a new crop in mid-summer. They can be sautéed, glazed, braised, pickled as a condiment or cooked in cream sauce as a side dish. Now is the time to plant THYME, PARSLEY, MINT and the rest of your herb garden, so you can enhance meals all spring, summer and fall. Fresh herbs are available in markets year-round. Some locally grown herbs begin appearing in April. Grow your own bay laurel tree and experience the fantastic taste of FRESH BAY LEAVES. You’ll never use dried bay leaves again once you taste the difference.

The MOREL season runs from March to July. These gorgeous honeycombed mushrooms have a nutty, smoky, intensely earthy flavour. They can be found near dead or dying elms, pine trees, in old apple orchards, old ash, and pines or in local markets.

Other Spring Favourites ARTICHOKES. The peak season is from March to May. BABY VEGETABLES. Look for the first locally grown baby vegetables: PURPLE SPROUTING BROCCOLI, tiny KALE BUDS, tender young COLLARD GREENS, red and yellow BABY POTATOES, tender gold and red BABY BEETS with greens attached. Starting in March, BABY ARTICHOKES and BABY FRENCH GREEN BEANS are available. SMALL BANANAS. Yummy diminutive banana varieties include lemon-banana flavoured burros, strawberry-banana Mysores, and ninos, a.k.a. honey bananas. ASPARAGUS. The peak season is from March to May. ESCAROLE. This bitter green is super in soups. DANDELION LEAVES. Pluck them from your lawn while they are young and tender. Eat



them raw in a salad, or briefly blanch, steam or sauté them like spinach. B.C. HOTHOUSE CHERRY TOMATOES. March is the beginning of the season for locally-grown cherry tomatoes. CURLY ENDIVE. The peak season for curly endive starts in March. GIANT PAPAYAS. These juicy, flavourful footlong fruits are available now. FAVA BEANS. Fresh fava beans are only available from April to June. PINEAPPLES. Available year-round, their peak season is from March to June. They are super sweet and juicy right now. PRICKLY PEARS. The peak season ends in May. CITRUS FRUIT. The peak season for blood oranges, grapefruit, oranges and tangelos ends in mid-April.

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LifeCycles Fruit Tree Products These products are made from produce devotedly harvested by volunteers of LifeCycles' Fruit Tree Project. Since 1998 over 150,000 lbs of nutritious food - which would have gone to waste - has been redistributed among homeowners, volunteers, food banks and community organizations. Proceeds from product sales allow the charitable project to continue. Thank you! Pear Brandy


Hard Cider Gelato and Sorbetto

Chutney Quince Paste

Markus’ Wharfside Restaurant

Find favourite recipes and articles

LINK Click on the hotlinks and go directly to over a 100 websites

Vancouver Island’s best kept secret (250) 642-3596 1831 Maple Ave. Sooke !

COWICHAN/ NANAIMO FOOD REPORTER WANTED Join the team of EAT’s regional reporters. Must be familar with the local restaurant and food scene. Contact the Editor with resume and cover letter. editor




Steak Frites To me, no item on a French bistro menu says “eat me” like steak frites. I’m a sucker for accompanying sauces, the look of herb butter melting over mediumrare beef, and a stickler for good frites. I enjoy the weight of a quality, sharp knife, and its aim, if not always true, is deadly emphatic. Indeed, if a good steak frites lasted all day I’d have one of the better days of my life. Here are four that have recently cut the mustard: Bistro Pastis | 2153 West 4th | Kitsilano, Vancouver | 604-731-50-20 | Pricey but perfect: a 5 oz. cut of AAA New York with a tower of frites sells steeply at $24, while an 8 oz. goes for a whopping $30. The beef is nicely marbled and firm in texture; the ordered temperature is delivered bang on. The accompanying peppercorn sauce is mellow and silky and doesn’t overshadow the quality of the meat. Jules Bistro | 216 Abbott St. | Gastown, Vancouver | 604-669-0033 | Their AAA rib-eye is a little loose and overly fatty for my tastes, like a wobbly brick of flavour with a peppercorn sauce lending a helping hand. Frites go limp in a hurry, and desired colour temperature can be inconsistent. Nevertheless, at $18 for an 8 oz. and $24 for a 12 oz., they remain good value options. Brasserie L’Ecole | 1715 Government St. | Victoria | 250-475-6260 | Flawlessly prepared, Roquefort butter-topped 8 oz. Alberta sirloins sell for $24 (12 oz. for $32) and sit next to some of the best frites I’ve had anywhere: truffle oil tossed, sprinkled with Parmesan, and sidekicked by a never-big-enough portion of Dijon mayo (a 10 oz. New York cut goes for $29 with same).

Tracey Kusiewicz

Steak Frites: Happily ubiquitous: the steak frites at Bistro Pastis is the picture of perfection.

The Smoking Dog | 1889 West 1st | Kitsilano, Vancouver | 604-732-8811 | A nicely marbled 8 oz. New York strip loin with a little fat cap on its edge (no butter pat), robustly sauced with a veal-heavy bordelaise and served with crispy, gently seasoned frites. A real contender at just $21. —A.M

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by Pam Durkin

Raw Materials

Rebecca Wellman

Roots and Shoots Clockwise from top left: Wheatgrass, sunflower shoots, crackers (peppers, flax, seeds, veg), dates and granola, mixed shoots and winter veg salad, buscati (soaked, dehydrated nuts, dates, seeds). For information contact them via email:

Woody Harrelson, Alicia Silverstone and Demi Moore have all done it and apparently love it. “Raw food� has traded its woo-woo status for something more mainstream. Is it for you?


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ho would have thought that one of the fastest growing culinary trends would involve turning off the stove? Previously popular only among extremists of the vegetarian persuasion, the raw food diet is now being embraced by the mainstream health-conscious looking to improve their health and add vitality to their years. The increasing interest in raw food has thankfully correlated with a new wave of creativity and sophistication in its preparation—it’s not just celery sticks and raw almonds anymore. But just how healthy, safe and practical is “eating without heating,� and what exactly can you eat on such a diet? Let’s take a closer look. Most raw foodists are vegan—consuming a variety of whole (organic is stressed), plant-based foods such as fruits, nuts, seeds, land and sea vegetables, sprouted beans and grains, and cold-processed oils— heated to no more than 112°F (by way of comparison, the boiling point of water is 175°F). A minority also includes raw dairy products in their diet. Proponents believe raw food contains essential, health-giving enzymes that are destroyed by cooking. They claim these enzymes and the vital “life force� of raw foods increase energy, improve skin health, help digestion, reduce the risk of chronic disease and aid in weight loss. What do the experts say? Dieticians concede the diet has some positive attributes— it contains virtually no saturated or trans fats, very little sodium and is chock-full of vitamins A, C and E, potassium, magnesium, folic acid and fibre. But according to Kitty Yung, a registered dietician with B.C.’s Diala-Dietician program, “You have to plan a raw food diet very carefully because it can be difficult to obtain enough calcium, iron, vitamin B12, protein and calories eating strictly raw foods.� There is some scientific evidence to back up her claim. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that a raw food diet increased levels of homocysteine (a byproduct of protein metabolism that can increase your risk for heart disease) due to Vitamin B12 deficiency. However, chef Cosmo

Meens, owner of Victoria’s Mo:le Restaurant and a raw food enthusiast, counters that argument this way: “If they tested a bunch of people eating the standard North American diet, they’d find a lot more people with deficiencies, multiple deficiencies in fact, than among people eating raw, living food.� As for the enzyme issue, Yung points out, “It’s true that some enzymes are inactivated when food is heated, but it doesn’t matter because the body produces its own enzymes for digestion. Furthermore,� she adds, “cooking actually makes some important phytochemicals like the lycopene in tomatoes and the beta-carotene in carrots easier to absorb.� Perhaps the most debated aspect of the raw food diet is the use of raw milk. While most raw foodists are vegan and shun all animal products, a minority drink raw milk believing pasteurization destroys enzymes, vitamins, beneficial bacteria and fatty acids and degrades milk’s protein molecules. Unfortunately, it’s illegal to sell raw milk in Canada. (Curiously, it’s perfectly legal in Europe and many American states.) However, some determined folks have found a rather creative way of skirting any legal issues. Gordon Watson, who helps run a “cow share� program on the Lower Mainland, explains, “If you own a dairy cow, you can use the raw milk for your own consumption; that is not illegal. So we sell shares in our cows and people are then allotted so much raw milk, depending on the size of their share.� (A full share is $80.) Watson delivers the fresh, raw milk to a drop-off point in Vancouver, making it easy for city dwellers to partake in what he calls “the best beverage there is.� What about Health Canada’s warning that raw milk can contain potentially lethal, disease-causing bacteria? “Hogwash,� says Watson. “There is no evidence that drinking raw milk from healthy, grass-fed cows kept in sanitary conditions is unsafe.� It seems a lot of people agree with him—he gets calls daily from health-conscious consumers wanting in on the cowshare program. Other raw food businesses are also seeing

increasing demand. Peggy and Michael Thompson, who operate Roots and Shoots, a Victoriabased living food company involved in raw food coaching and workshops, recently decided to scale back operations somewhat due to overwhelming demand for their services. Their popular, monthly “living food buffets” at Moss Rock Café have been temporarily put on hold while the couple devote more of their time to coaching and health consulting. Diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 2004, Peggy credits her diet, which is now 100 percent raw foods, with making cancer a “non-issue.” Like Thompson, Cosmo Meens also credits his raw food diet (he calls it “intuitive eating”) with improving his health. “I have much more energy now,” he states. “I can float through the day on an even energy keel.” And a good thing too because his expertise and innovation with raw food preparation are keeping him busy. He recently served as acting chef at the Raw Spirit Festival in Sedona, Arizona. More than 2,500 people attended the three-day festival, which is the largest of its kind on the globe. His enthusiasm for what he calls “this great culinary adventure” has also led him to shift the focus of the dinner menu at Mo:le. A six-course raw-food tasting menu is now being offered on Friday and Saturday nights, and the “oohs” and “aahs” his innovative creations elicit delight Meens. “I love showing people you can prepare a fabulous Caesar salad with a living food mayonnaise. And what is cool is that most of them don’t even realize there are no eggs or cheese in the salad they’re eating.” (His replacement for Parmesan is a creative mix of pine nuts, nutritional yeast and lemon juice magically transformed in a dehydrator.) His innovation with raw food doesn’t end at mock mayonnaise. “I make good use of the technology available. If you’ve got a good blender, dehydrator and juicer, you can whip up a gourmet selection of raw pâtés, nut and seed cheeses, crackers, flatbreads, pizzas … the ideas just feed off each other. The dehydrator allows you to condense flavours and change textures and that’s what cooking is all about. And the great thing is you can do it all without heating the food and destroying its nutritional value.” So should you swap your deep fryer and slow cooker for sprouting jars and a dehydrator? Clearly opting to follow a raw food diet is a personal choice, one not to be taken lightly. But while the science behind raw food is still being debated, it’s obvious that following this dietary approach has proved beneficial for many people. I personally plan to incorporate more raw, living food in my diet— but I’m not ready to give up my crème brûlee just yet. Think raw can’t be fabulous? Try this delicious, versatile, “raw food mayonnaise” Cosmo Meens has graciously given us to share with EAT readers. It’s wonderful in salads, mixed with sprouted legumes, or for those still eating cooked food it will “liven” up sandwiches. Bon appetit!

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Raw Almond Mayonnaise 1/2 cup raw almonds (soaked after measured) 1 cup olive oil 1/2 cup filtered water 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp fresh or dried basil 2 tsp raw garlic 2 tsp sea salt 2 Tbsp agave nectar or honey 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Soak almonds for 5 hours, then drain and rinse. Put everything except olive oil in the blender or food processor and blend until very creamy. Then slowly add the olive oil to make an emulsion. If using fresh basil, stir it in at the end. Adjust the flavours at the end. If you like more zing, add more vinegar or lemon juice.

healthy Gastronomy Eating gourmet and eating healthy is a philosophy we like to promote at EAT. By choosing the best artisan products, hand-crafted from whole foods, without pesticides or chemical enhancers—results in not only the best taste possible but healthful and nutritious meal solutions. Here are three artisan products that can be combined to prepare a delicious pasta meal.

+ Start with Lucini, a premium select extra virgin olive oil. The olives are hand-picked, then gently pressed within 24 hours of harvest to produce an olive oil with less than half the acidity of regular extra virgin olive oil. The flavour is green and almond-like with a peppery finish. Drizzle some on your pasta for a fresh and natural taste.

Frances Sidhe Dieuwertje (Dita) von Aesch Designer to Watch, Western Living, May 2007 250-889-2308

Chocolate bunniesthey can hide,but they can’t run!

+ Riscossa Pasta is a whole wheat pasta from the Bari Region of Southern Italy. Whole wheat pastas can be gummy but this brand is toothsome and slightly nutty. Use with ragù or other sauces like a marinara with a tomato base.


La Quercia Organic Prosciutto Americano–Green Label, made from organic pork produced by Becker Lane Pork, is the first (and only) organic prosciutto commercially available in Canada and is made with Becker Lane Organic Farms pasture raised, Berkshire cross, certified organic pork. Chopped fine and lightly fried it adds a savoury and salty contrast to a pasta dish.

We have everything you’ll need to make your own Easter treats, and they will be so good you won’t want to hide them!

Take a class in cake decorating, baking or chocolate making. We have classes geared for children and we host kids parties.

Call for details or visit our website!

Creating Occasions - 776 Spruce Avenue, Victoria ( Across from CanadianTire, off Douglas )

(250) 475-2611 MARCH | APRIL 2008



by Andrew Morrison

Black cod with roasted shallots in old Sherry vinegar delights at Yew, brand new to the Four Seasons Hotel.

Tracey Kusiewicz




OPENINGS Yew Restaurant + Bar Yew Restaurant + Bar | 791 West Georgia St. | Downtown | 604-689-9333 | his much-anticipated and needed renovation of the dated Terrace Restaurant in the Four Seasons came out of the gates swinging. It’s a massive, beautifully designed space that speaks to contemporary British Columbia with its modernism and its wood, grey and blue-green spectrum. A stone fireplace divides the bar and lounge area from a large dining room anchored by a glassed-in private room. The complete, $4-million package reveals one of the loveliest restaurants to open here in recent memory, and thank goodness the food plays at the same level. The over-sized open kitchen is the province of Miami-born chef Rafael Gonzalez, and though his menu trends toward the West Coast with locally sourced miso-glazed salmon and freshly shucked oysters prepped with strawberry and sorrel mignonette, he still manages to insert some Latin flair in the form of fine, coriander and citrus-kissed scallop ceviche and lobster served with spicy paella. Every plate I tried was a knockExecutive chef Rafael Gonzalez holding court in the private wine room at the Four out, though I still couldn’t help but bridle at the prices. An order of honey mussels Seasons' new Yew Restaurant + Bar. with ginger and lime cost $19, and a rack of venison plated for two set us back $82. Aged acquerello risotto might be uncommon in Vancouver restaurants, and at $27 a plate with porcini mushrooms, I don’t suppose it will gain in popularity any time soon. In all fairness, though, Gonzalez and his crew are such talents that they make it all seem perfectly acceptable. It’s just best to ensure you’re not the person paying the bill. The black cod alone, dressed as it is in old sherry vinegar with roasted shallots, was mortgage worthy, while the grain-fed and crispy skinned chicken with perfectly cooked white asparagus, fingerling potatoes and mushroom marmalade was worth every penny (both were $29). The wine list, a careful balance between old and new world with fully 150 wines available by the glass, was a thing to behold and enjoy. Service is taut and well-trained (though rather sloppily dressed), and the bar knows booze. It’s a rare thing for me to be so suddenly smitten by any new restaurant, especially those that spend and charge like thieves, but Yew impressed on all counts.


Tracey Kusiewicz

Pied-a-Terre Pied-a-Terre | 3369 Cambie St. | Downtown | 604-873-3131 |



Tracey Kusiewicz

he tearing up of Cambie Street to make way for the Canada Line (a subway from Vancouver’s waterfront to the airport) wreaked dooming havoc on many local businesses. Among the fallen was the much-loved Don Don Noodle Cafe, a long-established neighbourhood joint that catered to families on a budget. Few tears were shed, however, as its demise opened the door for restaurateurs Chris Stewart and Andrey Durbach (of Parkside and La Buca fame). Their new restaurant, Pied-a-Terre, is a dark and sexy pint-sizer that weighs in at just 32 seats. The look is softly lit and austerely frank with a simple black-and-cream Tender rabbit shines with minted peas and Dijon mustard sauce at Pied-a-Terre palette punching out framed mirrors and photographs. The absence of a bar and an espresso machine are shored up by a value-driven wine list and the presence of pastis available by the glass. To squeeze out every square foot, the table settings are pinched shoulder to shoulder. If you’re out for a conspiratorial dalliance and hoping to keep your conversation on the low down side of quiet, it might prove difficult. Though the jazz-synth soundtrack plays at a tolerable volume, they just don’t do slow here (it’s been packed since opening day back in mid-November). It may be a little loud and close >

͞͞ƐƉĂƌŬůĞƐ ƐƉĂƌŬůĞƐ ůŝŬ ůŝŬĞĞ Ă ŶŝŐŚ ŶŝŐŚƚƚ ŝŶ Z ZŽŵĞ ŽŵĞ ǁŝƚŚ 'ŝŶĂ >ŽůĂďƌŝŐŝĚĂ >ŽůĂďƌŝŐŝĚĂ͟ Ă͟ Mark Laba - Vancouver Sun

1037 Alberni Street Downtown reserve: 604-687-2858

for some, but it’s not boisterous: a flattering testament to how people come for the food instead of a game of “see and be seen.” The service, though knowledgeable and tight, can feel a little rushed, so it’s probably a good thing our attentions are caught and held by a tightly packaged menu of French bistro classics constructed and presented with modern flourishes. Thankfully, Durbach and his kitchen crew haven’t reworked the city bistro milieu so far as to make it unrecognizable. They manage to make staid onion gratinée and tarts stand at ease with their ubiquitousness by coming close to perfecting them and revive our erstwhile affections for treats like foie gras (in the form of a silky parfait), escargot and bunny. This latter, a rarity in Vancouver restaurants, is served with a tangy uppercut of Dijon mustard sauce that further moistens the meat and a mound of mashed potatoes rounded out with minted peas. Steak frites come in several guises, from onglet and entrecôte to côte de boeuf and filet mignon, all of which are classically served with frites, creamed spinach and a baked tomato. These frites, sadly, are under-seasoned and frozen, but the accompanying sauces are worthy of note (particularly the powerful Roquefort and mustard). The coq au vin is a must-try (layered with rich, lingering flavours), as is the lemon tart brulée to close. For diners familiar with Durbach’s cooking, Pied-a-Terre provides a welcome shock of recognition. The flavours are bold and in your face, but the dishes are fashioned with the kind of care one wouldn’t normally associate with such accessible price points. Appetizers average out to $9, while mains hover at just over $20. Portion sizes are also on the generous side of hefty. Be sure to call ahead, or you’ll be left out in the cold.

Joey’s Joey’s | 820 Burrard St. | Downtown | 604-683-5639 |




Tracey Kusiewicz

hile I’m not exactly on the record as being a big fan of chain restaurants like Earl’s and the Cactus Club, I’m not above giving them and their offspring a swing at bat. The second Vancouver location of Joey’s, owned by the Fuller family (founders of Earl’s and the steak chain Saltlik), recently opened on Burrard just off the shopping strip of Robson. It’s a multidimensional monster with several zones for dining, game watching and imbibing with friends in a sleek environment that gives off an air of contrived, semisophistication. It feels slightly more upscale and less cookie cutter than the rest of the family’s restaurants, though the company penchant for attractive young female service staff was very evident from the moment I walked into the door (greeted as I was by a bevy of runners-up in the Miss Vapid Vancouver pageant). In fact, it appeared as if only the managers were male, and rather oddly, they were wearing some sort of Secret Service-style communication device, complete with cheap suit and ridiculous earpiece, leading me to assume they use these to plot the overthrow of our credulity. One recent visit on a game night saw me sitting at the bar drinking one of their signature beers (a pint of bland brewed by Labatt) and deciphering a menu that read as if it had been crafted by a show of blinkered, sub- Though the room and the plates are prettily put urban hands press-ganged in a together, the food at Joeys was a let down. booth at Wendy’s. At the top left corner of the first page, a blurb bragged about the role of chef Chris Mills, a talented young chef who represented Canada at the Bocuse D’Or in 2001 and was once upon a time the executive chef at Diva, the award-dripping restaurant attached to the Metropolitan Hotel. He is a heavyweight, to be sure, and his presence as “VP of Culinary” is obviously designed to reassure doubters like me. On another visit, I asked the bartender, who had been at the restaurant since day one, if she’d ever met Mills. “No, but he’s supposed to be an amazing chef!” Sadly, the food was not up to the standard I’d expect from someone with such an illustrious pedigree. The “cheeseburger sliders,” little miniature burgers presented in triplicate on a white rectangular plate, were no better than the plainest of plain offerings I suffered at fairground concession stands as a child. Fish tacos were bile-inspiring, as was what they were trying to pass off as salmon, a ghastly piece of farmed fish flesh that was sad to look at and a struggle to stomach. A massive salad they call the “Evil Jungle” was just that: an overdressed disaster of cold noodles, sloppy mango chunks and some sort of meat bearing a vague resemblance to what could very well have been poultry at one point in its likely cloistered life. They call this dreadful stuff “new world” cuisine, a misnomer so laughable it should make us want to row back to the old.


Now, you’ve got plans.

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 Avenue, Vancouver, BC | Tel 604 739 0555 ext. 1 | Homer 11144 14 4 H omer Street Street 604 60 4 609 0901 0901 MARCH | APRIL 2008


Flite Flite | 1269 Hamilton St. | Yaletown | 604-687-1269 |


Tracey Kusiewicz

nother addition to the Yaletown scene, and a welcome one at that. Owners Patrick Greenfield, Marnie Campbell and chef Rick Munsen (ex-Bin 941 and La Terrazza) took over the Lucky Diner spot on the southern end of Hamilton last summer and have turned it into something definitely worth a visit. What was once a comparatively sterile, modern space of concrete, white walls and soaring ceilings has been transformed into a den of amber-lit comfort. A wine bar splits the whole into two areas: one of the lounge-ish ilk and the other for more intimate dining. The best seats are the pair at Munsen’s open Dungeness crab cakes flirt with plump kitchen. From here, you can watch him intensely supervise the goingstomatoes on a lively streak of blood on in his wine-coloured chef’s jacket orange and chipotle syrup at Flite. as he prepares dishes that range from the absolutely to the maybe not. His menu is simple with complimentary flavours geared towards wine pairing on plates sized for sharing. I enjoyed his Dungeness crab cakes smartly zipped up with a syrup of chipotle-infused citrus, and I waxed impressed for days after wolfing a rigatoni plate heavily laced with braised short rib meat. Dishes sit tight in the $12-$16 range, and if you’re feeling just a little peckish and want something to pair with your glass of Chardonnay, a side of lobster risotto is available for $8. It’s really too bad that the wine list is pure amateur hour. The selections are whimsical and scattered, vintage years are not included on the list, less than a third of them are available by the glass and the wine “flitesâ€? appear to have been lazily put together by a high busboy not old enough to drink. There is little rhyme, rhythm or reason to it at all. This would be acceptable in a room that doesn’t bill itself as a wine bar and hadn’t named itself after a wine tasting practice. Still, it’s early yet and these aren’t, of course, irreparable infractions. Any sommelier worth his or her weight in GewĂźrz would be able to right things in a shift or three. However, the consistently busy room suggests two things that might slow a solution: there hasn’t been much time to accommodate change just yet; and the only people who give a damn are wine geeks and food writers (there’s something to be said for a wine bar that can beat back the plague of pretension without raising so much as a pinky). The service can be a little spotty and the atmosphere a little loud, but it manages a good time and comes endowed with a heartbeat, rarities in a neighbourhood that can easily lean the other way.


Begin your career in Culinary Arts, Baking & Pastry Arts Call 604-734-4488 or book a tour online 1505 West Second Avenue Vancouver, BC V6H 3Y4




potential chain in the making, Pinkys (no apostrophe) is the solo work of Scott Morison, one of the founders behind the Cactus Club and Browns Social House franchises. Located right between Flite and Coast on one of the least frequented blocks of Yaletown's dining district, it has nevertheless found an immediate cross-section crowd. From the outset, their public relations materials have tried to stipulate that the 3,000 square foot, 115 seat Pinkys was not a "big box" restaurant, but rather an intimate original. The press package I received, a real reacher, tried to emphasise this is no uncertain terms. The restaurant was all about "low key glamour" and Affordable, quality steaks, a "old-school opulence", serving "New flashy room and a youthful vibe Classic" cuisine in the form of steaks, "snappy" starters and "yummy" pack them in at predictable Pinkys. desserts. It was "approachable", "both masculine and feminine", and the spot to hear "nostagic tunes". Finally, it was also "a woman's steakhouse", whatever that means. When they asked me to participate in their preopening tasting, I arrived totally breathless. What followed was a predictable affair. I was seduced by the dark and tight layout of the room (an absolute departure from LK Dining Lounge, the failed restaurant it mercifully replaced) and had my low to medium expectations met with the food. The steaks were of good quality, cooked and seasoned as expertly as I can get outside of the better steakhouses, and the satellite accoutrements were at par. A return visit saw me perch atop a faux cow hide stool dyed an overtly masculine shade of pink. Pictures on the dressed up walls included a portrait of a pair of pug dogs and two cartoonishly painted women hiking up their dresses. CONT’D ON THE NEXT PAGE

Tracey Kusiewicz

Start fresh‌

Pinkys Steakhouse and Cocktail Lounge | 1265 Hamilton St. | Yaletown | 604-637-3135 |

The EATBUZZ. café

|Vancouver| I

t seems that we're in for a significant slow down in the number of restaurant openings this year. If 2007 brought in over a 100 new establishments to Vancouver, I would be surprised if 2008 saw a third of that number arrive. Several of these are on our radar. Finally, hopefully, maybe, Voya should finally later this month, barring disaster. It'll lie at the foot of the Loden Vancouver, a new boutique hotel that has had a few construction setbacks (they're a year behind schedule). The chef will be MarcAndre Choquette, Rob Feenie's former chef de cuisine at Lumiere, widely thought to have been indispensable in Feenie's rise to prominence (hence the anticipation). Also in hotel news, sleek little Moda has been quietly going about preparations for a wine, cheese, and charcuterie bar (no name yet) that will likely open just before this issue hits the streets. The hotel has brought in a brigade of new staff, and to run the show they've picked up one of the city's hottest front of house commodities in Sebastien Le Goff, formerly the GM and sommelier at Lumiere and Feenies (quite the well spring training ground for top drawer BC restaurants). There is still no news as to what Rob Feenie will do next, but there are plenty of rumours making the rounds, one seeing him move to the Okanagan, one that sees him in the employ of the Cactus Club chain, and another that has him in the new convention center on the waterfront. The people behind Chambar have opened Cafe Medina right next door together with long-time Chambar server Robbie Kane. A first pass saw delicious Liege waffles with a variety of toppings including lavender chocolate, spiced caramel, and berry compote - all delicious. Lots of brick and plenty of room. Folks on laptops drinking quality coffee, a perfect fit for Crosstown loft livers and tech workers. Demolition has now begun on the Glowbal Group's new under $20 Kitsilano trattoria on West 4th (still without a

name), and they hope to open this May. In Yaletown, Blue Water Cafe's new private room was a huge hit over the holiday season, and bar manager Ron Oliver is off to Kentucky this Spring to teach the locals how to make cocktails using Bourbon. Down the street, the Hamilton Street Grill closed for a few days in January and opened with a lovely new bar. Just a block away, Tequila Kitchen opened and then quickly closed. The owners of the Mexican restaurant plan to retool the room, concept, and menu, and they aim to be back online this month. In Gastown, the Lamplighter has reopened after a redesign by pub czars Donnelly Hospitality Management (think pool tables, an obscene number of televisions, and grog). The owners of Boneta were able to extend their lease and can stay for a few more years at 1 West Cordova (they were originally only supposed to be in the old One Restaurant & Lounge space for a year, when the building was scheduled for redevelopment). As noted in this issue's Sean Heather feature on page 34, the date for the Irish Heather move across the street has been pushed back to June (for plan details, visit their blog at, while in Blood Alley, Salt Tasting Room's new private room (aka Salt Cellar) is now open for functions. In South Granville, British chef Warren Geraghty has been appointed the executive chef at West Restaurant. He replaces David Hawksworth who is moving on to open a room of his own in the revamped Hotel Georgia downtown (opening 2009). Also downtown, there's a new executive chef at Robson's CinCin: Francois Gagnon is in while Mark Perrier is out. Chris Gonzales, formerly of Villa Del Lupo and a jolly fine food writer, has joined the CinCin team too, as one of the managers. On the North Shore, chef Julio Gonzales-Perini left the Beach House to redesign Sciué's menus and help them expand from West Hastings into Yaletown. This 2nd location will come later this month across from Urban Fare. It's clear it won't be a banner year new restaurants opening up every three or four days. But perhaps some breathing room to digest the glut that 2007 delivered is just what we need. With Dine Out and the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival now behind us, the local food scene can relax just long enough to enjoy the coming of patio season, when the circle of restaurant life begins anew. —Andrew Morrison

PINKYS CONT’D> On the wall above the open kitchen window, ten feet of bright dressing room lights spelled out the word ROCKSTAR. It's not uncommon for me to find myself in the middle of a Much Music set (as I dream of a second career as an Assistant Grip), but the youth of it all, punctuated by the impossibly sculpted decolletage of the perky staff and the greatest hits soundtrack (both trying so hard not to annoy anyone), almost proved intoxicating (again, not a male staff member visible, save for the chefs and the management). Enter the oldies menu: cheese toast, coconut prawns, 1000 Island soaked salad, onion rings, and several modes of steak from teriyaki sirloin and whiskey medallions to organic rib eye and porterhouse, all edible standards at very reasonable prices. Imagination sits at nil. Some of it was quite tasty, even the superbly soggy chili nachos, but it's more of an upscale diner than it is a downscale steakhouse, the kind of place Betty and Veronica would use to cruise for dates just a step up from Archie and Jughead. Fun, to be certain, and very well put together, but still somehow lacking in the soul and fire department like the rest of the chains (there is a second location opening on Kitsilano's West 4th Avenue). Pinkys might have a slight stink of ubiquity about it, but it's still too soon to know how strong their Febreeze is. If the crowded room is any indication, it's extra strength. MARCH | APRIL 2008




Brentwood Bay Lodge: Pacific Rim Platter – assortment of premium sashimi, California roll, maki, nigiri and cone. Assorted premium sake: Wind Water Man Junmai Momokawa pearl Junmai Ginjo

Rebecca Wellman



Victoria Brentwood Bay Lodge and Spa Brentwood Bay Lodge and Spa | 849 Verdier Ave., Victoria, | Restaurant 250-544-5100 | Spa 250-544-5111


itting by the sea, wrapped in seaweed, eating seafood. At Brentwood Bay Lodge and Spa, this is where it’s at. Their fabulous Essence of Life Signature Wrap at the Essence of Life Spa is as invigorating as it is relaxing. The treatment includes a Rockweed exfoliation, a warm algae body wrap, seaweed mini-facial, vichy shower (you’ll want one of these in your home once you’re done here) and hydrating laminaria (brown kelp) lotion that is worked in with a muscle easing massage. The products used in this nurturing and detoxifying treatment come from the brand Sea-Flora – wild, organic seaweed skincare, provided by none other than ‘The Seaweed Lady’, Diane Bernard who is well known for her many culinary contributions to local island chefs. ( After the pampering, it’s time to move on upstairs to the new Sushi and Sake Bar located in the Brentwood SeaGrille restaurant. There you will find a vast array of gorgeous sushi and sashimi made by well seasoned head sushi chef, John Ng (a pioneer in introducing Japanese cuisine to Victoria 20 years ago), as well as Tanizaki Fuko (Four Seasons – Japan) and Paul Clar. The bar also holds a selection of the finest sake from Japanese and North American wineries. If you were not a sake lover before, you will be once you’ve tried the premium offerings here – and you learn a lot too! The sake is served chilled or at room temperature (not warm, which is a North American trend) and is treated like a fine glass of wine, with the same series of sniffs and swirls to get the full effect. The Wind Water Man Junmai is a clear, clean, easy sipping sake that is nice on its own, or alongside any of the food offerings. The Pacific Rim Platter, a fine sharing plate, comes with an assortment of premium sushi, sashimi, california roll, maki, nigiri and cone (small plate $23, large plate $45). A definite favorite is the BBL roll made from spicy shrimp, spinach, avocado, cucumber and smoked salmon – a delicious explosion of spice, smoke and salt, creamy and crunch. Although seaweed is a seemingly popular theme here, the sushi bar offers something for those who aren’t quite so keen. A soy wrap, made simply of soy and pressed into a thin, almost spongy wrap, can be requested with any roll and offers a softer, less chewy option while continuing to allow a healthy alternative. While you’re sharing, you may as well add a bottle of Momokawa pearl Junmai Ginjo sake, which is a pearl colored, earthy sake with a hint of a coconut flavor. Not your average glass of sake, but no one ever claimed that Brentwood Bay Lodge would be any kind of average. —Rebecca Wellman

Boxo Boxo | 1011 Blanshard St., Victoria | | 250-477-BOXO (2696)


he new BOXO, a noodle bar located in the 1000 block of Blanshard St. is beginning to make an impression. The tiny, well decorated Asian inspired space is giving the neighboring noodles-in-a-box type restaurants a run for their money. After months of testing and trials, Boxo’s co-owner and manager Chelsea Sinclare came up with an Asian inspired (but admittedly not Asian authentic) menu that includes four appetizers: spring rolls, pot stickers, edamame and naan bread as well as nine main dishes. The location is also licensed, offering a Naked Grape chardonnay, Jackson-Triggs merlot and cabernetsauvignon along with a selection of beers, ciders and Smirnoff type bottled cocktails. The ginger beef, I’m happy to say, is not your typical something-encrusted, then deep fried beef, but consists of seasoned lean beef, herbs, asian greens, sprouts and is cooked in a gar-

Rebecca Wellman

Boxo’s spicy peanut box (in a bowl!) lic ginger sauce served over rice. The coconut curry box was a lovely creamy mix of broad ribbon noodles, peppers, asian greens, herbs, sprouts and authentic curry spices. I’m not too shy to say that this one might even become a craving. Boxo (named as such because… well… things come in boxes) offers all dishes in a mild, MARCH | APRIL 2008


medium or hot spice. But look out – even the mild spicy peanut box comes with quite a kick. This dish is a delightful mix of broad ribbon noodles, asian greens, peppers, sprouts and crushed peanuts, simmered in a spicy peanut sauce. It was as delicious with chicken as I’m sure it would have been with pork, beef, prawns, tofu or a combination of all of the above. While each main dish comes with a recommended noodle or rice as displayed on the menu, you are free to mix and match both your proteins and carbs. For a decent price - many dishes are under $10 - you can be on your way with a heaping box of this Asian-Canadian comfort food. But don’t run out just yet. Boxo, while headquarters for take-out, also houses 3 tables for 2 people and 3 bar style seating areas, where you can scrap the box and eat from a bowl. Watch for the daily specials, scheduled to make an appearance soon. —Rebecca Wellman

Planet Thai Bistro Planet Thai Bistro | 615 Johnson St., Victoria | 250-380-7878 lanet Thai Bistro—the next best thing to being there. Formerly Thai Bistro, the restaurant was acquired by new owners Graham and Orawan Dickinson on July 1, 2007. Graham, originally from Victoria, spent six years in Thailand where he met and married his wife, Orawan. They returned to Victoria in 1998, and Orawan spent the next seven years in the kitchen of a wellknown local Thai establishment. But the couple’s dream was always to have their own place. Graham and Orawan have brought a piece of Thailand to Victoria. The restaurant is intimate with seats for only about 20, but it is a warm and inviting place for diners to linger over steaming bowls of soup and curry. Browsing the menu is an adventure and a quick lesson in Thai— each dish is spelled using the proper Thai phonetics. We began our meal with Clockwise from left on first image: Gang Penang – a delightfully sweet and crispy plate of red curry with bamboo shoots, red and green pepMee Krop. Light, airy noodles with a pers, basil with chicken, pork, beef or prawns. mildly tangy tamarind sauce are topped (shown here with chicken). off with tofu and prawns (the dish was Vegetable Spring roll – carrots, cabbage, vermiadded to the restaurant’s specials board celli noodles with plum sauce. at our request on a previous visit). The Gai Putt Puk Met Mamuang (cashew chicken) – spring rolls that followed were light and stir fried red and green pepper, onion, carrot, celcrispy and, thankfully, not at all greasy. ery, green onions, mushroom, chicken and ginger We shared a bowl of Tom Kha Gai—hot and sour soup with coconut milk, lemongrass, chicken and mushrooms. Graham recommended our main courses and they did not disappoint. Dtaeng-Dtaek is a rich combination of hot and spicy stir-fried rice noodles with broccoli, bean sprouts, carrots and chicken. If you like Pad Thai (or Put Thai, the correct spelling and pronunciation), you will also like this dish. A must-have in any Thai restaurant is a curry dish, and curry is a Planet Thai house specialty. Gang Panang, a red curry with prawns and red peppers, is topped with toasted peanuts. Our final dish, Putt Grapow (stir-fried onions and red peppers with basil, prawns, scallops and squid) topped off an excellent meal. Each dish had distinct and unique signature flavours; all of the food was fresh, healthy and beautifully presented. While in the restaurant, we chatted with two men who had travelled extensively in Thailand. They told us that some of the best food in the country is offered by the Thai street vendors. Planet Thai Bistro has a Thai Street Vendor Classics menu offering dishes I’ve never seen in any other Thai restaurant. With the exception of the spring rolls, I didn’t recognize any of the dishes but am certainly tempted by their descriptions: Lap Moo—Northeast Thai-style mix of minced pork, red onions, mint, cilantro, toasted rice and lime juice, or how about Yum Woon Sen—a rice noodle salad with green onions, red onion, pork, cilantro and lime juice? I’m hungry all over again. For those who don’t have the opportunity to travel to Thailand, a trip to Planet Thai Bistro will do nicely. Highly recommended. —Tammy Simon


Rebecca Wellman

THE BUDGET GOURMET —by Elizabeth Smyth

Mount Royal Bagel Factory Mount Royal Bagel Factory | 6-1115 North Park St., Victoria | 250-380-3588

D 26


Rebecca Wellman

o one thing, and do it well. Then do another thing, and another thing well, still holding on to the simplicity and purity of the initial vision. These words could well be a motto for Mount Royal Bagel. Regulars pile in on weekends in particular, firm in their specifications about their bagels—big hole, small hole, thick, thin, even cooked in the middle of the rack so it’s darker. And then

there’s the jockeying for the different flavours—whole wheat cinnamon, sesame, poppy seed, multigrain and more. The purists are here for a reason; these moist and chewy bagels are a memory of Montreal, of a place where people are sensual in their food choices and calories aren’t counted. The cream cheeses on offer to top the bagels are, again, created with care. Basil and garlic infuse one of the cheeses, creating a fresh, bright note on top of the creaminess. “Cilantro Supreme” is another fabulous twist on plain cream cheese, adding a fragrant southwestern twist to a classic bagel and cream cheese. And no Saturday morning bagel is complete without the pièce de résistance—soft, melting sockeye salmon lox. Again, the truth is in the details. This lox is specially made for Mount Royal Bagel and to great effect; it is delicately translucent and melts like butter in your mouth. The bagels are 95 cents for singles, a small tub of cream cheese is $2.95, and it doesn’t matter what the salmon costs because it’s an affordable, and non-negotiable, indulgence.

Bubby Rose’s Bakery and Café Bubby Rose’s Bakery and Café | 1022 Cook St., Victoria | 250-4728229


Rebecca Wellman

t the bright and busy Bubby Rose’s, the owners live by their store motto “everything matters.” Their varied menu backs this up. Vegetarian pizza, with a name so prosaic as to invite skepticism, is a wonderful surprise. Black beans, corn and dried yet juicy tomatoes dance boldly together on a thin crust, providing sensational taste. Only slightly more expensive, the salmon quiche is all about softness and layers. The moist, creamy egg base is topped by a delicate layer of spinach, another of smoked salmon and then decorated with a graceful fan of zucchini slices. And for an ethnic twist, the soup of the day was a Thai cabbage soup. Again, the simple name belied the complexity of the dish. This fragrant soup is a deep umber garnished with basil leaves and sliced tomatoes and served with soft, warm rounds of French bread. The first, bright taste of cabbage eases Owner Valerie Engel with into a silky peanut flavour and then Jamaican Tortano ends with a twist of spice. All of these dishes are under $5, providing even more motivation than the obvious to check out the display case of pastries. I was most seduced by the teeny, tiny rugelahs, Jewish delicacies of poppy seeds spilling out of a pastry made of cream cheese and butter, rather like a dense little sausage roll with a sweet surprise.

Rebar Rebar | 50 Bastion Square, Victoria | 250-361-9223


Rebecca Wellman

vegetarian restaurant renowned for a reason—a famous cookbook, highly seasoned meals and invigorating juices. Additionally, many menu items are under $12. The “floo fighter” juice is the perfect choice for this time of year; I felt healthier just looking at it. Carrot, apple, lemon and ginger are blended with Mystic Ridge Echinacea to create a potent and flavourful elixir. The sesame-scented bowl of miso also invites an appreciative pause before dipping a spoon in. This goldenbrown mix of two types of miso is laced with greens and topped with curlicues of green onion. Floating in the middle are big, soft blocks of tofu, and lacing the bottom are wholesome buckwheat noodles, adding a sensation of robustness to the steaming bowl of soup. A final favourite of regulars is almost too beautiful to dismantle. It is a brilliant Spiced chickpea-cashew hummous, cuminmustard oil, roasted tomato-ginger chutney deconstruction of the Indian flag and Indian flavours, though the base of the and grilled whole wheat pita. With kitchen dish is Middle Eastern. The Bombay staff (from left) Dasi Rae, Morgan Elliott, Hummus and Pita is a generous mound of Andrew Goertzen cashew and chickpea hummus liberally laced with cumin, which gives the hummus a soft green shimmer. Beside it is a jaunty serving of orange-red tomato ginger chutney. It is all beautifully presented on a glowing white rectangular plate, like the centre of the Indian flag. Served with triangles of soft, thick pita bread, this dish is hearty and sophisticated at the same time. >


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yummy today.

Sign up for a jewellery design class today! At Skanda, we empower you to discover your creative side. You can find the perfect combination of gemstones and findings to create your next jewellery piece or create something spectacular with one of our designers. No matter how creative you are — you’ll shine with us.

1033 Fort Street, Victoria Tel: (250) 475-2632 MARCH | APRIL 2008


Union Pacific





e were wondering when the Salt concept would wash up on Island shores. Salt is a Vancouver nonrestaurant located on Blood Alley in Gastown. Top: The $15 plates come with your It has no chef. The concept meshes wine bar personalized menu - hand-written with deli and the result is widely popular. so you can keep track. Union Pacific Owner Jim Walmsley. takes the Bottom: The three blackboards concept and puts a Victoria spin on it. UP’s room is warm brick-lined walls, chunky wood tables and an Old Towne ambience—the menu called UP After Dark. The staff is young, friendly and eager. Three giant blackboards spell out the menu, each an ordering category: meat, cheese and condiments. You pick what you want from each blackboard and a plate will be made up with your selections. Great for sharing or solo snacking. EAT attended the soft launch to sample. Many of the items on the meat (read charcuterie) blackboard are from small producer Oyama in Vancouver: kasu coppa, free-range Bayonnes ham with a couple of other producers adding smoked beef tenderloin, chorizo to the offerings. From the cheese blackboard locals Fairburn Farms, Hillary’s and Moonstruck are represented by buffalo mozzarella, Cowichan Blue and Tomme D’Or respectively. We tried them all (as well as a lush taleggio from Italy) and were impressed with the quality. Once you have chosen your meats and cheeses, you can pick three condiments from a hefty list: Babes natural honey, peach chutney, petit cornichons and others. Wines (20 by the glass) come by the bottle or 2 and 4 oz pours. A coffee house by day, a charcuterie house by night—cool idea. —G.Hynes

Rebecca Wellman

Union Pacific | 537 Herald St., Victoria | 250.380.0005 |

With an international reputation for excellence, Malaspina’s


Culinary Arts program provides you with the skills to succeed. The program, taught by dedicated faculty with extensive professional one year certificate and two year diploma.

Visit or call 250.740.6289 to learn more.



NOW is the time to apply for our January and August intake.


Vi c t o r i a


NEW BEGINNINGS or the first time, The Butchart Gardens will allow weddings to be held on their gloried grounds. The annual wedding season coincides with The Gardens' Spring Prelude season of January 15th through to March 31st. The company is making its special indoor garden of spring flowers, blossoming shrubs and trees, water features and pathways available for wedding photographs and ceremonies. Robin Clarke, owner of The Butchart Gardens said "We have been asked by many people over the years to hold weddings in our garden, and we feel that at this time of year one could not find a more beautiful indoor venue offering such an intimate location of great beauty. Areas of our outdoor gardens will also be available for wedding photographs during this time." The Gardens offers wedding packages for ceremonies of up to sixty people. Options include wedding photographs alone, a ceremony and reception, or a reception or dinner in The Dining Room Restaurant. All packages include indoor and outdoor photo rights. For those choosing to have a ceremony, a two-hour rehearsal time is also included. For a very limited time, enjoy a $100 Cappuccino or $100 Espresso at Buon Amicis. For $100 you will have the unique opportunity to sample your choice of either: 2 - 5.5 ounce cappuccinos OR 2 - 2 oz espressos Made with ‘Panama Esmeralda Especial’ one of the world’s most sought after coffees. These rare coffee beans recently sold at auction for a record $130/lb. Two handcrafted Swiss“Terra Keramik” cups and saucers will be yours to take home. AWARDS & RECOGNITION & FUNDRAISING Ottavio Italian Bakery & Delicatessen in Oak Bay Village is proud to announce that they have been selected as award winner and finalist as Retailer of the Year across all business categories in the Vancouver Island Business Excellence Awards. This award is given to Vancouver Island businesses that have demonstrated extraordinary achievement based on the criteria of business growth, innovation, social and community character & commitment to the environment. The achievement has been demonstrated not only in the realm of business but also in humanitarian and/or community service endeavors. —Treve Ring


experience, is offered as a

Malaspina University-College 900 Fifth Street, Nanaimo, British Columbia

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ew on the region’s restaurant scene, Chef/Owner Steve Dodd of bisque [307 -b 14th and Cliffe, (250) 3348564,] has put together an intriguing menu offering “continental cuisine with a west coast flair.” AAA steaks, lamb, seafood, in-house made pasta “and....don't forget the bisque.” Dodd’s focus is on on offering a “quiet, classical dining experience.” Other new food venues in the area include: Sushi Kobo Take Out [1773 Comox Ave, Comox, (250) 339-3222], Osaka Sushi [6-450 Ryan Rd, Courtenay, (250) 703-0146], and Pholien Noodle House [11-468 29th St, Courtenay, (250) 338-8868]. A late addition: St. Elmo's Bar and Grill now inhabits #42720 Cliffe Ave.[formerly home to Rockfish Sushi]. One of my favourite protein stops, Yummies & Gyros Café [279 Puntledge Road, Courtenay (250) 338-2299] will soon be serving fruit bars and gelato. Zizi Café [441B Cliffe Avenue, (250) 3341661] is now open late with expanded seating, and offers "tajine style" dishes - lemon chicken with Moroccan rice and traditional vegetable stew over cous cous - as well as many fun side additions and fresh baked desserts. At Atlas Café [250-6th Street, Courtenay 250.338.9838] Chef Jon Frazier, who grew up in Royston-area, continues to evolve the menu. He prepares Atlas classics with consistency and brings his flair to the most recent menu changes, including updates to the pastas and quesadillas. Chef/Owner Mark Duncan notes that Courtenay stalwart Union Street Grill & Grotto [477-5th Street, (250)897-0081] has just introduced a Grill menu with “a new elegant look, lots of new items, and an expanded winelist.” Fridays are still hopping with live music and tapas; brunch is happening on Saturdays and Sundays. The roster of events at Beyond the Kitchen Door [274B 5th St, Courtenay, (250) 3384404] is—once again—impressive. Featured events include Sooke Harbour House chefs Darcy Ladret, and David Larsen's “Winter Warm Up Meal.“ The Leeward’s Chef du Cuisine Andrew Stigant explores the diversity of West Coast flavours. Michael Kono demonstrates the fine art of sushi. Yoon Kim of Thyme on the Ocean presents a Korean “extravaganza.” Jim Lalic takes us to shores of Greece for a traditional Greek Easter feast. And Executive Chef Karen Barnaby (The Fish House in Stanley Park) presents her latest recipe compilation, Shellfish. FMI call BTKD (250) 338-4404. Looking east towards Comox, good reports by diners indicate that the crew at Avenue Bistro [2064 Comox Avenue, (250) 890-9200] is finding its feet. The menu continues to evolve with a greater assortment of choices (meat and vegetarian) and the use of more local ingredients. Brunch is served Saturday and Sundays. Warm up in front of the wood fire and have


lunch (pizza by the slice and panninis on house bread, served with soup du jour) or take away... Tuesday through Saturdays at Wild Flour Organic Artisan Bakery 221A Church Street in Comox [250-890-0017,]. To the west... in Cumberland, previous experience tells me she’s right when Chef Nicola Cunha at The Great Escape [2744 Dunsmuir Street,, (250) 336-8831] says that we’ll “love the beautiful Qualicum Bay scallops seared with a lime jaggery (Indian unrefined sugar) glaze over braised greens.” South of town, Harbour View Bistro [5575 S. Island Hwy, Union Bay (250) 335-3277] keeps a very low profile, but word of mouth tells of high quality fine dining experiences. Gourmet five-course dinners (March 6th and April 3rd), complimented by featured wines, are the seasonal news at Kingfisher Inn & Spa [4330 Island Highway, Courtenay, (800) 663-7929]. Don’t forget Easter Sunday Brunch on March 24th! Further south, in Coombs, Kiki Spice [266 Alberni Hwy, (250) 927-5454] has expanded to include Sunday brunches, as well as its unique dining experience on alternate Fridays through the Spring. Dinners feature set menus with geographico-ethnic themes. To view up & coming menus go to Reservations only. ReaL FooD [152 Morison Ave, (250) 2480003] is a small eat-in & take-out restaurant in Parksville offering a wider selection of both meat & vegetarian dishes. “We are in the business of making people feel better & bringing people together to enjoy life more,” say owners Dallas & Tracy Collis. I had one of my best meals ever last year at The Landing West Coast Grill in Parksville [(250)468-2400]. The architect of that meal, Chef Rich Atkins, has moved on to other challenges, along with Manager Nick Brandstatter. While I wish Nick and Rich all the best I’m going to miss them. And, I’m looking forward to what Atilla Cimsit (formerly of Tigh Na Mara) will do as Director of Food and Beverages. To the north, in Campbell River Michelle Yasinski has launched a "Specialty Foods Cooks" series of classes at Cheddar & Co. [1090A Shoppers Row (250) 830-0244] on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. The classes are filling fast (some already sold out) and she’s taking wait lists for additional classes until garden season starts. Chef Instructor Chris Hansen at Campbell River’s North Island College campus [1635 South Dogwood St, Campbell River 250.923.9745] is excited about a new apprenticeship model that helps students complete accreditation in a reasonable time frame. “It’s the only program in BC that currently offers this innovative format,” says Hansen. With a combination of hands-on training at NIC and industry experience, it also allows students to "earn while you learn”. —Hans Peter Meyer MARCH | APRIL 2008



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To f i n o —Kira Rogers



ildside Grill, the latest addition to Tofino’s flowing stream of food destinations opens its doors this spring in early March. Chef Jesse Blake teams up with local fisherman Jeff Mikus; ‘Natural Foods by Natural Dudes’ - to bring you wild local seafood, fresh organic greens from Barkley Sound and Vancouver Island poultry and meats. Menu includes items such as Clayoquot Seafood Gumbo, Sloping Hills Pulled Pork Bun and Cowichan Bay Organic Chicken Burger, among many other affordable tasty items. Open 7 days a week for breakfast and lunch, until dusk, located beside Live to Surf and Beaches Grocery, 1180 Pacific Rim Highway.

Trilogy Garden CafÊ is hosting live local music on Saturday nights. Still focusing on fresh seafood, a tapas style menu will be offered during live performances. Trilogy Garden CafÊ is also open for catering, both on site and off site, with a great box lunch menu for your Tofino day trips. 1084 Pacific Rim Highway 250 725 2247 The 6th Annual Tofino Food and Wine Festival is gearing up for its new website launch listing current events for the 2008 weekend, June 06 - 08. Shocasing Tofino’s culinary talent, Island purveyors and BC wines, the 2nd Annual Grape Stomping will also take place, along with various other events. On March 6th, the Wickaninnish Inn will be hosting the 12th Annual Gala Dinner and Silent Auction for the Pacific Rim Whale Festival. This will be Chef Tim Cuff’s first Whale Festival dinner. All proceeds from this event go to support the volunteer-fueled Festival, a celebration of coastal life and of the migration of 20,000 grey whales past the Pacific Rim. The Festival takes place March 15-23rd. With winter’s end, don’t forget to check out the Inn’s Spring Fling package, setting you up for romantic moments with breakfast in bed, champagne and berries, a romantic turndown, and a surprise gift! Available March through May.

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|SO k a n a g a n | pring? Are you there yet? Even though my Father reminds me that these Okanagan winters are nothing like they used to be – I am still dying for a daffodil. Just around the corner now we will again be surrounded with buds and blossoms promising yet another bountiful season filled with our charmed region’s infamous fruit, veggies, and of course grapes! Ahhh, wine country lifestyle is grand. Downtown Kelowna has welcomed another ethnic eatery to its growing repertoire: Everest Restaurant. A traditional Indian and Nepalese establishment, owner Ram Prasad Sapkota who hails from Nepal, provides a cozy room with wonderful hospitality and fabulous fresh food. Nepalese cuisine is similar to Indian; the main difference is that no cream or butter is used in the preparation of the dishes. With a large menu of delicious food to choose from along with Everest’s motto of striving for service that continues to grow “higher and higher” (like its namesake) this new eatery is sure become a local favorite. 573 Lawrence Avenue (250) 762-7000. Take out available. La Boulangerie is a classic French gourmet café and bakery located in Kelowna’s thriving Mission/Pandosy area. A family run establishment, owners Pierre-Jean Martin and his wife Sandrine Raffault come to us from France. With perfect croissants, baguettes and brioche, lunch features rich homemade soups, quiche and sandwiches en baguette – eat in or take away. 102-3140 Lakeshore Road - (250) 762-3466 Open at 7:30 am until 5:30 pm. The Waterfront Wines group is gearing up to open their new restaurant in the Mission area of Kelowna as well. I don’t know where Chef Mark Filatow finds the time – between the two kitchens now, he has also expanded the takeaway arm of his business. Seasons provides delicious restaurant quality gourmet takeaway meals, dips and preserves that are prepared in the Waterfront Wines kitchen. They offer catering for groups from 5 to 300 and have a “chef at home” service where you can hire a chef to cook for you in your kitchen! Products available at Metro Liquor at 300 – 1500 Banks Road (250) 763-2600 or Okanagan Grocery Artisan Breads (250) 862-2811 2355 Gordon Drive. Trufficulture Trees at Oyama Gardens ( is cultivating truffle trees for purchase. As their website explains “We are dedicated to environmentally friendly horticultural methods and believe that truffles offer a non-polluting, sustainable and potentially lucrative alternative to many other forms of agriculture… we believe that truffle production can play a role in supporting and sustaining agriculture in areas that are threatened by urbanization and industrialization”. The thought of truffles growing in my neighbourhood makes me giddy! For only $40 each you can order 5-20 inoculated trees. Hester Creek has recently opened their stunning Villa on their winery in Oliver offering visitors a luxury B&B experience set above their rolling vineyard. There are five units to choose from, plus an executive suite all equipped with the necessities to accommodate a relaxing, cozy escape. Each room has French doors that open up onto a covered terrace where guests can sip a glass of Hester Creek award winning wine, whist taking in the views and discussing their wine tasting route for the following day. Apart from our wine success, the Okanagan is also producing other exciting products like iced ciders and beer as well as grappa and… Absinthe? Yes indeed. Okanagan Spirits in Vernon has again fired up his big copper pot still and released the newest spirit s: christened “Absinthe Taboo”. This legendary libation was known as the “Green Monster” in the café society of Paris in the 1800’s and was the drink of choice perhaps for its mysterious and perhaps hallucinogenic results following ingestion of the wormwood. Flavoured with star anise, hyssop, fennel, to serve this (now less potent) potion, pour two parts of ice water slowly over a half a sugar cube held in a slotted spoon into a cocktail glass that contains one part Absinthe. —By Jennifer Schell-Pigott

THE VICTORIA WHISKY FESTIVAL took place January 25-27 at the Hotel Grand Pacific. Since its inception this event has grown to become the premier independent whisky festival in North America with numerous top-tier experts in attendance and a consumer tasting with the world’s best represented.

Celebrating 100 Years of Fine Dining ince January of 1908, The Fairmont Empress has offered warm hospitality in an unforgettable location, on Victoria's inner harbour. Be a part of history! Commemorate the occasion with taste, join us for our monthly Centennial Celebration Menu. For reservations or additional information please call 250-389-2727 721 Government Street, Victoria, BC, V8W 1W5

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Above: Craig Johnstone who represents Highland Park has recently moved to Vancouver. MARCH | APRIL 2008




Kathryn McAree

Foodie Chick Lit Food lover and writer Kathryn McAree has discovered a genre of fiction that makes that difficult choice between reading and cooking a little easier. ure, I’d like to tell you I read War and Peace into the wee hours of the morning, but the reality is that I devour a lot of what’s commonly called “chick lit” in the publishing world –mostly on Sunday afternoons in my fleece pajamas under a cozy blanket on the couch. I don’t just read any chick lit, though. It’s got to have food-related content. Please inform the publishers of the world: I’ve discovered a new genre and it’s called foodie chick lit. Chick lit as the name implies is fiction written about, and almost exclusively by, women. These clever, funny stories focus on the emotion life and issues unique to modern, often single, women: intimate relationships, careers, friends, urban living. Think Bridget Jones’s Diary, Candace Bushnell’s Sex in the City franchise and Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic books and you get the idea, although the genre encompasses a much wider range of the female experience. It’s the tone of the books that sets them apart: stylish, irreverently funny and compulsively readable. My favourite foodie chick lit author is Sarah-Kate Lynch from New Zealand. On a trip home from Auckland several years ago, I picked up a copy of Eating with the Angels (Black Swan, 2006) at the airport. It’s a story about a New York restaurant critic who rises and falls through heartbreak and romance all the way to Venice. The craziness kept me occupied on the 14-hour flight to L.A., but tragedy struck on the connecting flight to Vancouver. I left the book on the plane. I remembered my loss at Canada Customs, but none of the Air Canada personnel seemed to care what happened to Connie, the troubled restaurant critic, as much as I did. I checked with Air Canada in Victoria, filed a report, but sadly they appeared unconcerned as well. It took a year before I could get my hands on another copy (at the time the book had been released only in New Zealand). But now the world is ready for Lynch’s latest novel, The House of Peine, released in New Zealand last year and in the U.K. as The House of Joy (Doubleday, 2007). Joyous it is as three estranged sisters inherit a champagne house in France (though I bet there is conflict and tragedy looming somewhere). A recent deal struck with Lynch’s American publisher will bring the novel out under yet another name later this year, and it has already been optioned by a Hollywood film company. Can you imagine how fun it must have been to research writing about a champagne house? Lynch’s other foodie chick lit is just as compelling, but it’s Lynch’s humour that keeps me reading. Blessed Are the Cheesemakers, a saga based in Ireland, is somewhat, uh, cheesy, but also ridiculously funny. Another of her novels, By Bread Alone, brings a whole new meaning to the word deflowering … or should I say deflouring? The romance begins in France and follows the starter for decades. The starter, which gives natural life to bread, is precious to the story, the characters and to the reader. Lynch actually had eight starters in her kitchen as she was researching this novel, and to date has managed to keep one lone survivor alive and baking. I had the pleasure of interviewing Lynch when I was in New Zealand, and when I asked her to divulge her favourite foodie novel, she didn’t hesitate to lovingly tell me it was Chocolat. It is the story of a young mother who arrives at a somewhat remote French village with her six-year-old daughter and opens a small chocolaterie. The film version brought fame to British author Joanne Harris, who followed that 1999 bestseller with another novel, Blackberry Wine (Harper Perennial, 2000), set in the same location in France. Although not strictly speaking chick lit because it is a memoir, Julie Powell’s bestseller Julie and Julia (Back Bay Books, 2006) was marketed much like chick lit and the tone of the writing is similar. Powell was a frustrated secretarial temp living in New York and feeling her life was over at the age of 29 when she decided to try to save the situation by cooking every one of the 524 recipes in Julia Child’s legendary Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The blog she used to chronicle “my year of cooking dangerously” was a hit, the resulting book a bestseller. She refers to Child’s book as “MtAoFC” and says reading it is like “reading pornographic bible verses,” “childishly simple and dauntingly complex, incantatory and comforting.” The story is a scream and will constantly leave you craving Oeufs en Cocotte, Plombières and Poulet en Gelée à l’Estragon. Can’t you just imagine what those recipes stir up? Back to fiction and now to Seattle author and classically trained chef Susan Volland, who had me in stitches with Cooking for Mr. Right (New American Library, 2005), the trials and tribulations of sous-chef Kate Linden and her ex-boyfriend Gaston. Complete with recipes, including the Pacific Northwest delicacy geoduck (pronounced gooey-duck, it is the largest bivalve along Puget Sound and the largest burrowing clam in the world), Cooking for Mr. Right will leave you turning pages and scrounging through cupboards to satisfy the cravings created while reading. Susan Volland also wrote another foodie chick lit novel called Love and Meatballs. Volland tells me it’s out of print, but I managed to find a copy online through in Portland. I also ordered The Men’s Guide to the Women’s Bathroom (HarperCollins, 2007) by Jo Barrett. Believe it or not, the book has some serious foodie edge to it. The main character becomes involved with an organic farmer who, undoubtedly, will change her life. Powell’s has the most delectable selection of cookbooks and foodie faves both out of print and new. Also try based in Victoria. In Vancouver, Barbara Jo’s Books to Cooks has wonderful collections of food literature, food history, cookbooks and more. If you love both food and fiction, you’ll probably find the new genre of foodie chick lit deliciously satisfying. Know of more great foodie books to keep me laughing and reading? Please drop me a line at




Impeccable service. Outstanding cuisine. A casual sophisticated atmosphere.

Roast Rack of Pork with Crackling and Cider Sauce Cooking roast rack of pork with the crackling, the skin of the pig, creates a crisp and delightful crust that helps keep the meat below very moist. Racks of pork (cut from the loin) with crackling are available at some butcher shops. It’s best to call ahead to make sure your butcher sells it, or can order it in.

Owner Jennifer Bowles

Chef Corey Korenicki

M. Tourigny

Preparation time: 10 minutes • Cooking time: About 2 hours • Makes: 6 servings Ingredients 1 (4 lb; 6 rib-bone) rack of pork loin 6-8 sprigs fresh rosemary sprigs, plus a few more for garnish sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 cup dry cider 2 cups chicken stock mixed with 3 Tbsp flour

2583 Cadboro Bay Rd., Victoria

Method Preheat the oven to 475˚F. Use a very sharp knife to score the skin of the pork (shallow cuts just to the top of the meat), in a crosshatch pattern, with each horizontal cut about 2-inches apart (you could ask you’re butcher to do this). Make a bed of the rosemary sprigs in the bottom a shallow roasting pan, set the roast, rib bones pointing up, on top of the rosemary, Season and rub the meat with salt and pepper. Roast the meat 10 minutes, and then lower the heat to 275˚F. Slowly roast the meat at this temperature for 90-100 minutes more, or until the centre of the roast registers 160˚F on an instant read meat thermometer. Set the roast on a platter, tent with foil and rest 10 minutes. Discard the rosemary in the pan (it’s done its work adding aroma to the pork). Set the roasting pan on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Add the cider, bring to a simmer and scrap the bottom of the pan to release any tasty brown bits. Reduce the cider by half. Whisk in the stock/flour mixture, return to a simmer, and simmer until a thickened sauce forms, about 3-4 minutes. Cut the rack of pork into slices between the ribs bones. Serve the sauce in a sauceboat alongside the meat.


Dine & Unwind Package

anuk chef Patrick Lynch has come up with a refreshing take on lunch with his Sanuk For One—which includes three feature items—all on one plate. Not only is Lynch’s pan-Asian food vibrant, spicy and complex, at $15 its a good deal for a lunch of this quality and in such toney surroundings. I tried the Sanuk For One on two separate occasions and both times it was very good. I loved the freshness and crispiness of the shredded green papaya salad dressed with cilantro, mint, spiced peanuts and lime chili Sanuk For vinaigrette. Ditto the soft crepe (made inhouse) and filled with pulled pork, spiced One slightly sweet; the Marinated Butter chicken cooked in an Indian spiced tomato cream sauce and served with house made smoked chili and coriander flat bread with steamed basmati rice; and the vegetarian Nonya curry flecked with Shiitake mushrooms, bok choy, eggplant, roasted bell peppers and bean sprouts cooked with Malaysian spices and finished with coconut. The menu changes daily but all the feature items appear on the evening menu in larger single portions which are best shared. —G.H. 625 Courtney St., Victoria | 250-920-4844 |



Stay | SEASIDE Discover D iscover S Sidney’s idney’s s secret ecret vacation vacation residence residence by by tthe he sea se a Miraloma on the Cove Miraloma Cove is a luxur luxury yw waterfront aterfront rrental ental vvacation acation rresidence, e esidence , nestled on a beautiful herita heritage eritage property proper ty with 1.5 acr acres es of pri p private vate g gardens, ardens, located d in Sidney Sidney on V Vancouver ancouver Island.

Dine Unwind D ine & U nwind rom Package P a c k a ge ffrom

$206 $ 206*

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Under U nder new new management managem ent b by y Bellstar Bellst ar Hotels H ote ls & R Resorts e sor t s w w w.bellst MARCH | APRIL 2008





Start at the southern tip of Vancouver Island and work your way north as you embark on a culinary journey that is a feast for both the stomach, and the senses.

Boomer Jerrit

he South Island is known for the wide variety and quality of its restaurants. Walking down the streets of Victoria, smells enchant you and entice you to walk through the doors and pamper your appetite. Fine dining is the order of the day, and in locales such as Sooke, Metchosin, Saanich and Sidney, there is something for the epicurean in all of us. Pacific Northwest cuisine combines the finest ingredients on land with the freshest items of the sea, and brings culinary masterpieces to the table with flavour, colour and exciting textures. The Gulf Islands are fast becoming a culinary and agri-tourism destination. In these small artisan communities, including Salt Spring, Galiano and Pender Island, see first hand how local cheeses and wines are made. The cottage industries specializing in organics, locally grown produce and the highest quality delicacies are a mainstay in the region. Come to the area and sample wood-fired breads, fresh cheeses and handmade charcuterie. The Cowichan region is the libation hot-spot of Vancouver Island. Some of the finest wines and ciders in British Columbia are produced in this region, and several companies offer tasting tours, allowing you to sample delicious beverages, often paired with regional cheeses and cuisine. The meaderies in the Cowichan area are also buzzing with activity, and offer visitors an opportunity experience the centuries old brewing technique, all the while savouring the sumptuous amber liquid. The Central Island, including Nanaimo, Ladysmith and Parksville, is known for its unusual agricultural offerings, such as emu, lamb and goat. Take part in weekend cooking classes and see how to prepare organic produce and game. Take a guided mushroom picking tour in the area, and create memorable dishes from items you’ve foraged from the damp Vancouver Island soil. Culinary and food-based festivals are also popular in the mid- Island region. Come get a taste of the best Nanaimo has to offer at Bite of Nanaimo, a sample of the area’s finest restaurants, held annually in September. If you love the coast, and have a passion for fresh seafood, the North Central Island is calling. Fresh seafood, particularly oysters, is a favourite among locals and visitors alike. In the areas from Fanny Bay to Oyster River, many restaurants offer their interpretations of how an oyster should be served. From cold, freshly shucked oysters eaten raw, to crisp deep fried oysters with a spritz of lemon and remoulade, you’ll find delectable dishes to tempt your palette. The North Island region has a flavour all its own. Rich in first-nations history, the seafood caught here, and their unique preparations, are a must-see for any culinary adventurer. Take a trip to Fort Rupert, just outside Port Hardy, and experience the traditional native methods for curing and smoking salmon. Step inside a traditional big house in Port Alice and let the smoke aroma embrace you as salmon is cooked on cedar planks and smoked between cedar trellises over an open flame. Take home a taste of Vancouver Island with these First Nations specialties. Perhaps your idea of perfection is having the various culinary delights prepared and served in luxurious settings. In the Pacific Rim communities of Tofino and Ucluelet, world-class resorts abound and 5-star dining experiences are at your fingertips. From the elegant dining rooms, watch the waters of the Pacific smash

Welcome to the Islands against the rocks below, as you dive into regional delights such as fresh, wild salmon, sea scallops and butterflied prawns. The bounty of Vancouver Island is ripe for the picking; smell the aromas, taste the flavours, and hear the region calling out for you to experience the opulent delights of this gastronomic epicentre. For more information on the Vancouver Island region, please call 1-888655-3483 or visit

Appy Hour

drop-in 5pm – 7 pm Monday to Friday Featuring 50 cent Wings, Poutine, and BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders. All Day Drink Specials: $4 local craft beer on tap, $6 feature martinis.

Located at The Sidney Pier Hotel & Spa 2538 Beacon Avenue, Sidney, BC Open daily 7am - 9pm

Call 250-655-9700 or visit

Appy Hour food menu is available from 5pm-7pm, Mon to Fri. Drink specials are all-day, Mon to Fri.



freshly cut greens and other gourmet delicacies... Silverado Steakhouse ~ Timber Room Pub ~ Glacier view Decks

Savour Crown Isle Today! 1-888-338-8439 399 Clubhouse Drive, Courtenay, BC MARCH | APRIL 2008


LOCAL KITCHEN Cilantro & Parsley Crumb-Coated Halibut Halibut has a mild flavour and meaty texture making it ideal for an aromatic herb crust. The topping is reminiscent of pesto, but without the bite from raw garlic and a little extra crunch from toasted hazelnut breadcrumbs. Since there’s no sauce, dish up with a creamy potato pave. Serves 4 3 slices organic white bread, preferably day old 1/2 cup each chopped cilantro and Italian parsley 1/4 cup grated Montana (David Wood’s) or Parmesan cheese 1/3 cup whole hazelnuts* 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil 4 halibut fillets (from FAS), at least 1-inch thick Coarse salt and pepper 1Tbsp Dijon mustard

Cut off and discard bread crusts. Tear bread into small pieces. In a food processor, whirl herbs with cheese and hazelnuts until mixed. Whirl in breadcrumbs and oil just until coarse crumbs form. Place fish on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and smear tops with mustard. Generously heap breadcrumb mixture overtop and press gently so it sticks. Roast in preheated 400F oven until a knife tip inserted in thickest part of fish comes out warm, 10 to 12 minutes. KITCHEN TIP If bread is fresh, lightly toast, then cut off crusts and tear into small pieces. When roasting fish, if crust starts to brown too much before fish is cooked, loosely cover with a piece of foil. *Local hazelnuts are available at Heritage Farm and Vineyard and Smyth’s Market Garden.


Lemony Asparagus with Fried Capers


Besides being the obvious harbinger of spring, asparagus blends well with just about everything – especially fish. Choose long slender stalks – they’re the most pleasing. Thicker stalks can taste bitter and are often stringy. A little lemon zest punches up the flavour plus anchovies (always a great secret ingredient) and fried capers add a hit of salty crunch. 1/4 cup olive oil 3 Tbsp capers 1 large bunch organic asparagus* 1 Tbsp Avalon certified organic butter 1 to 2 anchovy fillets, minced 1 strip lemon peel, pith removed and thinly sliced



1 garlic clove, thinly sliced Heat oil in a small saucepan over high heat. Pat capers dry with paper towel, then add to oil. Careful, as it will splutter. Reduce heat to medium. Sizzle until capers crisp and turn light brown, 5 minutes. Drain and save oil for use another day – it’s a flavourful base for salad dressings or marinades. Break off and discard tough ends from asparagus or peel bottom ends to remove though threads. Blanche until tender-crisp, then drain. Melt butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add anchovy, lemon peel and garlic. Stir often until garlic turns golden, then add asparagus. Toss to evenly coat. Turn onto a platter and sprinkle with fried capers. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over top, if you wish. *Support local farmers and buy directly from the gate. Log onto to find different locations.

British Columbia at its Best The EATBUZZ. café

| Drink News |

Check out Treve Ring’s report on the wine and drink scene. You’ll find it on page 57 of the Digital Edition.

Complete Online Version available at

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located in the heart of Victoria’s downtown inner harbour

512 Yates St. Victoria, BC

(250) 480-0883


by Chris Mason Stearns

From Napa

Vines To



hen Sandra Oldfield left her Napa Valley wine making job in 1994 to move north to Oliver, the southern Okanagan was still an uncharted outpost in the wine world's hinterland. Since then, she and her husband Kenn have steered their Tinhorn Creek Winery from fledgling to mainstay on what is now known as "The Golden Mile", emerging as one of BC's most respected and readily recognised wine brands. Over dinner at Vancouver's famed Le Gavroche, she talked with EAT's Chris Mason Stearns about her move up from California, the Okanagan's remarkable growth, how local winemakers need to drink internationally, and made some predictions about the future.


EAT: Let's start with a little about you. You grew up in California and studied winemaking at University of California, Davis, which has highly respected enology and viticulture programs. Your early experience with wine making was at Rodney Strong in the heart of the Napa Valley. What was it like moving from the center of the wine universe to the Okanagan Valley in 1994, just a few years after the vine pull-out? SANDRA OLDFIELD: It was so much change in such a short amount of time. Everything was new: the country, motherhood, being a wine maker and all the rest. I was getting the whole package at the time, because I was getting married as well. I was leaving my country. Nobody in my family has ever left. I was becoming a wine maker, which I didn't expect do right out of college, and taking on two step-kids. The whole thing happened within about a month. I met [husband and Tinhorn Creek co-owner] Kenn down at UC Davis. He was studying viticulture and I was studying enology. One of the things that drew me to BC was that it was so much lower in snob value. It was so welcoming. I just hated the idea that you need a certain amount of money in your jeans or a certain education to enjoy wine. When I moved up, I was 29, and I went to the [Vancouver Playhouse International] Wine Festival that year, and half the people there were under 35. I was blown away. I'd never seen that before at a wine tasting. Everybody in the States were in their 50s and 60s. I like the accessibility of wine here. I don’t want to see us lose that. EAT: On the wine making front, at least at the beginning, it must have felt a bit like the Wild West. What's changed for you as an Okanagan wine maker, from 1994 to 2008? SO: I felt like you could make some good mistakes back then, because everything was so young that you could screw up a little bit and it wouldn't hurt your reputation a lot. It was that way in Napa in the 50s, when they were experimenting. They would make bad wine. And they were allowed to make bad wine because they weren't "Napa" yet. When we started [in the Okanagan], you had to be on your game pretty quick, because within two or three vintages you were being judged in international competitions. The pressure was high. That's how the wine industry works now. The new wineries coming into the [Okanagan] Valley that have million-dollar investments can't put out a bad wine on their first vintage. That's not how it used to be. Napa didn't always make Napa wines. They made a lot of plonk for a long time. When I came up, I felt a lot of pressure to make good wine, fast. EAT: How else have things changes in the past decade? SO: The industry has changed tremendously. For me personally, I rely on my assistants more. I've taken on more of a mentoring role, making sure my workers are happy. In the early days, only I had to be happy. I've learned a lot more about our land. Back then, [our wines] were being tuned with a big knob. Now I can start fine-tuning a little bit. We're always dealing with our own grapes, which is a huge help. EAT: It seems many wineries who buy most or all of their grapes have been put in an increasingly tough position of late, facing a sort of mercenary approach on the part of some grape growers. SO: The quality of grapes in the Valley has gone up, but it hasn't gone up in proportion to the price. There are people demanding huge prices per ton, and growing way more than they should on a given acreage because they can. That will rectify itself. Wineries will smarten up and start paying by the acreage, instead of by the ton. EAT: But these are boom times and there is huge demand for grapes. Do you think the supply and demand market will take a couple decades to sort itself out? SO: No. Nothing ever takes a couple decades in the Okanagan. It's more like a couple years. Everyone has to go through a similar learning curve to what we did back in '94. All these new wineries think they know exactly what they're doing and know how to do it better than anyone else. That's how we were too, in '94. That's why we're called Tinhorn! We were sure we knew what we were doing. In retrospect, we had no clue. But we're totally fine admitting it.



You don’t want to develop that snob attitude where you know exactly what's going on [and others don't]. No-one knows what's going on in the wine industry. The vines change every year. The weather changes every year. The customer demands something different every year. EAT: What do you like to drink at home? SO: Manny Ferreira [of Le Gavroche and Senova restaurants] has me hooked on some Portuguese table wines that I'm liking a lot. I don't have that much Californian in my cellar right now. We drink a lot of bubble in the summer - some local, some Cava from Spain. I like to drink it, but I don’t like to make it! [laughs]

Tinhorn Creek winemaker

Sandra Oldfield EAT: Do you think it's important for Okanagan wine makers to drink wines from outside the Valley? To gain some international reference points? SO: It's critical. But it's hard. It's not like you can go to your local liquor store in Oliver and buy any of the wines we've been talking about. When you're in Vancouver you have to pick up an interesting bottle of this or that. You have to work at it, and if you're really busy during the year, it's hard to build your cellar and have a good international palate. It's really something we have to work on. We'll do blind tastings at the winery where we'll put our Pinot Gris in a line-up with eight others from around the world. That kind of tasting is really valuable because you know how our wines are priced (under $20 a bottle for the most part). We really feel our competitors are other [wines] we're on the shelf with, not necessarily the winery across the way selling the same wine for $40. Our competitors are the Chilean wines, the South African wines. Everyone says we're under-priced. We are according to our neighbours, but we aren't according to the world market on the shelf. I've always felt that the BC prices are out of whack, and that they'd start to come down. They just haven't. EAT: Isn't that a product of the economics of wine making in the Valley? SO: It's also due to the fact that BC wine drinkers are so loyal right now to BC wines that they're putting up with the high prices. It's really 'in' now to be drinking BC wine, so they'll do it at any cost. That may wear off at some point. You can get really good wines from Alsace for way less money than what you're paying for a good Riesling or Gewurztraminer from the Okanagan. How long is that loyalty going to last? Are they going to be loyal to our prices forever? I don’t know. EAT: How do you reconcile the art of making wine with the business of running a winery? SO: They're not at all compatible. I think I'm lucky in that I'm both a wine maker and an owner. I know what it's like to be a wine maker who is not an owner, and there's always a feud. The nice way to put it is as a "tension" between the production side and the owner side. The wine making side always wants to make the best wine they can, given unlimited funds (which aren't coming out of the winemakers pocket). There are some wineries who are content to do that, because they never plan to turn a profit. And then there are wineries like ours. Our motto is to make good wine, have fun, and make money while we do it. We do want to be a viable business. I think it's always at odds: the winemaker always wants better, newer, and more expensive, while the owners, if they want to make a profit, are always trying to push back at that. EAT: But you're both. SO: Which I think helps, because I see both sides of it. At other wineries there's an 'us and them' attitude. EAT: Let's talk about the Golden Mile. The Naramata Bench Winery Association has been tremendously successful at branding Naramata -- getting that name on people's lips. What would it take to do something similar in your neighbourhood, to start a Golden Mile Wine Association? Are there any plans for it? SO: There's a South Okanagan Wine Association, from Oliver down to Osoyoos. It started a year ago. It's a loose association of 20 or so members. They're doing their first tasting, as a group, in February. I think what's interesting about the S.O.W.A. is that it's made up of a good cross-section of wineries of different sizes and ages. It's not all a bunch of little tiny wineries, it's got some medium-sized ones, too. And Vincor is in it as well. Admittedly, it's starting slow, but I'm glad to see it. EAT: Let's talk about the future. What is the Okanagan Valley going to look like in 25 years? SO: Well I'm going to be 61, so that's what I'm going to look like [laughs]. There will be more wineries, obviously. A lot of the current wineries won’t be there anymore. EAT: What will the wine taste like? SO: I don’t know. Better, I hope. I'm assuming that with the trend of the last 12 years that they'll be better. I anticipate very soon you'll see more investment from American wineries. Big wineries in California are looking at investing in the Okanagan. I think that will add stability to the region. People who really know what they're doing coming in and learning the viticultural nuances of the land, but also bringing with them pretty big knowledge about how to make good wines. I think that will raise the bar. EAT: What about real estate concerns? SO: I say it every year, that there's only so far you can expand in the Okanagan. There's only so much land. But I get proven wrong every year, because more and more land gets converted to vineyards. That probably shouldn't be. The amount of plantable land available is tiny. The majority of the Okanagan Valley is a lake, and you can't grow grapes on that. You can't go above a certain elevation. A lot of the land is owned by First Nations. A lot of the apple orchards are being ripped out on the valley floor [and replanted with grape vines]. But two bad winters in a row will take care of that, and they'll go back to apple orchards. EAT: But you can understand their motivation. Apple farming is a break-even enterprise. SO: It is. And that's why everyone is re-planting. But from my side of it, I come from a county that used to be diversified, and now is monoculture. There are only two things growing in Sonoma right now, grapes and condos. There used to be apples, squash, berries—a real diversity of agriculture. I miss that, and I love that in the Okanagan. MARCH | APRIL 2008



Big Easy Flavours PICTURED: Clockwise from top left

Shellfish and Andouille Gumbo Muffuletta Fried Seafood Po’ Boy Corn & Crab Bisque



New Orleanians are a hardy breed and Hurricane Katrina has not dampened the spirits of this vibrant culinary city. by Nathan Fong Photography by John Sherlock

Founded in 1718 by explorers Bienville and Iberville, New Orleans has always been a culinary destination thanks to the melting pot fusion of its settlers and inhabitants. These influences created two main styles of Louisiana cuisines: “Creole” cuisine (a blend of French, Spanish, French Caribbean, African and American influences) and “Cajun” cuisine (originally from the French-speaking Acadian or “Cajun” immigrants who were “deported” by the English from Acadia in Canada. Cajun is more rustic with provincial French style. Creole tends more towards classical European styles adapted to local ingredients.

N. Fong


ardi Gras in New Orleans, one of the most famous and revered Carnival festivals in the world, will be celebrated once again this January, some three years after Hurricane Katrina nearly destroyed the livelihood of this historic and entertaining southern city. But Big Easy folk are a hardy breed. Despite the fact that a good percentage (reports say up to 30 percent) of the population haven’t returned and many neighbourhoods are yet to be restored, New Orleanians have persevered and are bringing life back to the Big Easy. Perhaps not to the same extent and glamour as previous eras, but they are definitely on the rebound. Last August I had a chance to visit this charming, “ever so polite” city of the south. Even while experiencing close to unbearable heat and humidity, this city knows how to eat and drink, partying in style no matter what the conditions. I had never visited the Big Easy before, so I had my suspicions after heard so many effusive reports about the nightlife, the food and the lifestyle. From what I saw and experienced, those reports unfolded to be the truth. From wonderful, golden-rich roux-based jambalayas and greasy po’ boys licked with tart pickles and mayo to 24-hour daiquiri drivethroughs (yes, believe it!), the culinary scene is somewhat surreal. I watched as drunk and brazen groups of youths walking down famed Bourbon Street along with adults with children in tow. Stripper bars and penthouse clubs vied for attention with the honourable Preservation Hall of Jazz and main-stream chain eateries like the Hard Rock Café and Morton’s. Perhaps the city could be seen as a cross between Disneyland, Las Vegas and Fantasy Island. The 9th Ward was one of the poorest areas in the city yet was still a vibrant neighbourhood community. It was hit hardest by Katrina and still sits barren and stripped of its former tarnished glory, at this point destined it seems to being simply leveled or left to become a ghost town. The racial and political ramifications of the situation are staggering, but I reminded myself that I was here for the food.

Corn & Crab Bisque from Besh Steak House at Harrah’s Casino, New Orleans The new Harrah’s Hotel was the first new luxury hotel to be opened in the Big Easy after Hurricane Katrina. The hotel, casino and entertainment complex houses seven top restaurants including James Beard award-winning chef John Besh’s glamorous Besh Steak House. Although this restaurant is famous for its superb cuts of steak, this delicate fresh corn and crab soup was a sure winner. Serves 4 to 5 people. To make the bisque: 1 1/2 pounds small fresh blue crabs 2 Tbsp olive oil 1/2 pound chopped onions 1 chopped celery stalk 1/3 cup garlic cloves 1/2 cup brandy 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 4 litres corn stock (recipe follows)

2 sprigs fresh thyme 1 bay leaf 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes 750 mL heavy cream 1/2 pound jumbo lump crab or dungeness 1/2 pound fresh corn Tabasco sauce to taste Worchestershire sauce to taste Salt to taste

Place shells in a heavy plastic bag and crush crab shells with meat mallet. Place the crushed crabs into a hot roasting pan [on the stove?]] with olive oil. Let cook until all water has evaporated from the crab shells and they turn slightly golden. Add onion, garlic and celery and cook until onions are translucent. Add brandy and let flame up until all alcohol is cooked out. Dust with flour and stir until flour is evenly distributed. Add corn stock, thyme, bay leaf and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 45 minutes. Add heavy cream and cook for 15 minutes more. Puree with blender and pass through a fine strainer. Add crab meat and corn. Bring back to a simmer to heat corn and crab. Season to taste with Tabasco, Worchestershire sauce, lemon juice, brandy and salt. To make the corn stock: 2 corn cobs (use cobs left from fresh corn in soup) 1 medium yellow onion 1 stalk celery 6 litres water 1 bay leaf 1/2 Tbsp whole black peppercorns Chop onions and celery. Add them along with the corn cobs to the pot of water. Bring to simmer and add bay leaf and peppercorns. Simmer slowly for 45 minutes to an hour. Strain through fine strainer.

Shellfish and Andouille Gumbo from 7 on Fulton You don’t leave Louisiana without a bowl of gumbo. There are various styles of gumbo, which is similar to a thick, almost stew-like soup, but the important factor is that they are all started with a slow-cooked roux that turns dark golden brown to bring a rich nuttiness to the dish. This simple dish is easy to prepare and is traditionally served over hot steamed rice. 7 on Fulton is a beautiful new restaurant serving contemporary Southern cuisine in a heritage building that also contains the Riverfront Hotel. Chef Michael Sichel’s gumbo was certainly one of the best! Serves 6. 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp canola oil 1 medium onion, finely chopped 3 stalks celery, finely chopped 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped 1 green pepper, finely chopped 3/4 litre fish or shrimp stock 3/4 litre chicken stock 1 Tbsp Tony’s Creole seasoning 1 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce

1/3 pound fresh okra, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (optional) 1 doz raw oysters 1 doz raw prawns 1/2 pound cooked andouille sausage, cut into ½-inch slice 1 bay leaf 1 1/2 tsp salt 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper 1/2 pound crabmeat Steamed hot white rice Chopped green onions

In a heavy medium saucepan, mix together flour and 1/2 cup canola oil and stir slowly over medium-low heat until the roux is dark brown. Be patient as this brings out the flavour of the gumbo. Do not burn! Set aside. In a separate large heavy saucepan, heat the 2 Tbsp canola oil over medium heat and add onion, celery, garlic and green pepper; sauté until soft. Add the shrimp and chicken stocks. Slowly whisk in the roux a small amount at a time, waiting till it dissolves until adding more. Add enough roux to desired consistency. Bring gumbo to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes stirring occasionally. Add seasoning, Worchestershire sauce and okra. Stir in seafood, sausage, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until seafood is cooked. Right before serving, stir in crabmeat and cook for a minute to heat the crabmeat through. Serve over cooked white rice and garnish with green onions.



Green Tomatoes and Crabmeat with Peach Puree from 7 on Fulton Having grown up on standard red tomatoes and later enriched my experience with the various hues of heirloom tomatoes, I was always intrigued about cooking with unripe green tomatoes. Apparently, they not only make good chutneys but marmalades and salsas, too. Finally I had my chance to savour this southern favourite, which has been modernized with the addition of a delicate crab salad and the sweetness of a peach puree contrasted to the slight tartness of a crisp cornmeal-coated fried tomato. Serves 6. 3 large green tomatoes (or under-riped tomatoes) 1 cup buttermilk 4 ripe peaches 1 cup sugar 2 Tbsp butter

1715 Government Street 250.475.6260

Dinner 5:30 - 11 pm Tuesday to Saturday

To make crab salad: 1 shallot, finely chopped 1 tsp grainy Dijon mustard 1 Tbsp honey 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 1 pound crabmeat 1/2 pound cornmeal

Slice tomatoes 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick (12 slices needed) and soak in buttermilk. Blanch peaches in boiling water until skin peels off easily. Remove and quickly place into an ice water bath, peel skin and remove pit. In a heavy saucepan, add sugar to 2 cups water and bring to a simmer; add peaches and cook for 15 minutes. Remove peaches, saving sugar syrup for another use, and place into a blender, add butter and puree until creamy. Mix together the shallot, mustard, honey, vinegar and slowly whisk in the olive oil until well incorporated. Season with salt and pepper. In a separate mixing bowl add the crabmeat and slowly mix in enough salad dressing to season, saving any excess for another use. In a nonstick skillet, add three to four tablespoons canola oil and heat over medium high heat. In a shallow mixing bowl, season cornmeal with salt and pepper and mix well. Remove green tomatoes from buttermilk and dip into seasoned cornmeal, coating each slice well. Add a few slices to hot oil and pan-fry both sides until golden. Remove tomatoes and place on a paper-towel-lined baking sheet to remove any excess oil, keeping warm. Repeat with other tomato slices. To assemble, place a small amount of the peach puree on the base of the plate then place a fried tomato slice on top of the puree. Divide seasoned crabmeat on the tomato slice and top with another fried tomato slice to form a sandwich. Serve immediately.

Fried Seafood Po’ Boy from Emeril Lagasse Another ubiquitous creation from Louisiana is the famed po’ boy, the traditional submarine sandwich of the area. It consists of meat or seafood, usually fried, and served on a baguette. This isn’t the traditional French style we’re familiar with, but a lighter, airier version with a very crisp crust. The traditional styles are served hot and usually include fried shrimp and oysters, important seafood from the Louisiana waters. A “dressed” seafood po’ boy includes lettuce, tomatoes and pickles, with mayonnaise and onions optional. A no-seafood po’ boy will also usually be accompanied by a coarse-grained Creole mustard. There are many stories about how the name po’ boy originated, but one stems from the New Orleans street car strike in 1929. One restaurateur, a former streetcar operator, served his former colleagues free sandwiches, and his restaurant workers jokingly referred to the strikers as “poor boys.” Soon the sandwiches themselves took on the name, and, when shortened by the Louisiana dialect, it became “po’ boy.” Another theory suggests the name came from the French “pour boire,” or peace offering. Apparently New Orleans men, coming home late after a night on the town, would bring an oyster loaf (a whole baguette hollowed out and filled with fried oysters and condiments) as a peace offering. Whatever the story, it’s still one of the signature foods of the southern state. Serves 2. Vegetable oil, for deep frying 1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined 4 soft shell crabs (optional) 1/2 pound shucked oysters 1/2 cup masa flour 1/2 cup flour 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal 1 egg

2 Tbsp. water 1/2 cup flour Salt, to taste Cayenne pepper, to taste Tabasco sauce, to taste 2 small hoagies or French bread rolls 1/4 cup mayonnaise or tartar sauce 1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce 6 slices tomatoes

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Season the shrimp, softshells and oysters with salt and cayenne. In a shallow pan, combine masa and cornmeal. Beat together the egg and water. Dredge the shrimp in the flour, coating the shrimp completely, then into the egg mixture then into the cornmeal mixture, coating well. Dredge the softshell and oysters in the flour, coating completely, then egg wash, then cornmeal mixture. Fry the seafood in the hot oil until goldenbrown, stirring constantly, about 4 minutes. Remove from the oil and drain on a paper-lined plate. Season with salt and hot sauce. Split the French bread loaves in half. Spread the mayonnaise on both sides of the bread. Build the sandwich with the fried seafood, lettuce, and tomatoes. Optional Cooking Method: Not into deep frying? A healthier approach is to season the seafood with a creole seasoning and cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Combine 1/4 cup lemon juice with 1 Tbsp olive oil and pour over seafood, cover and refrigerate for another 30 minutes. Skewer seafood and place on a greased preheated barbecue grill or under the broiler on a prepared baking sheet until cooked.

Muffuletta Muffuletta is a type of Sicilian bread, a round crusty loaf with a hollow centre similar to Italian focaccia. However, the word is best known as one heck of a big sandwich chocked full of Italian cold cuts (capicola, salami, mortadella), cheeses (provolone, Emmantaler) and the signature marinated “olive salad.” The sandwich originated in 1906 at the Central Grocery, a store in the French Quarter owned by Sicilian immigrant Salvatore Lupo. Today, the store still stands and is still operated by the Lupo family. >



To make the olive salad: 2/3 cup green olives, pitted and coarsely chopped 2/3 cup black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped 1/4 cup pimiento, chopped 1/4 cup drained, chopped cocktail onions 3 cloves garlic, finely minced 1 fillet anchovy, mashed 1 Tbsp capers 1/3 cup finely chopped parsley 1 tsp oregano 1/4 tsp black pepper 1/2 cup olive oil 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar Mix all ingredients together. Cover and allow to marinate overnight or for a minimum of 12 hours. To make the sandwich: 1 large loaf Italian bread 1/3 pound hard salami, very thinly sliced 1/3 pound prosciutto, very thinly sliced 1/3 pound provolone cheese, thinly sliced 1/3 mortadella Slice loaf in half horizontally and slightly scoop out insides. Drizzle some of the olive oil and juices from the olive salad on each side of the open loaf. Layer on cold cuts and provolone. Spread on olive salad at least 3/4-inch thick. Replace top half of loaf and cut into serving-size wedges.

Brioche Bread Pudding with Toffee Sauce and Whiskey Ice Cream, from Besh Steak House, Harrah’s Casino, New Orleans I love anything smothered with the richness of a good toffee sauce, and what could be better than pairing it with a sublime whiskey-infused ice cream? Traditionally, bread pudding was made with leftover French bread, but this recipe has been tweaked to include the rich, delicately sweet flavoured egg and yeast brioche. Sinfully rich, this dessert is perfect for our wet winter days! Serves 4-6 people. To make brioche bread pudding: 5 cups diced brioche, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 1 litre homogenized milk 500 mL heavy cream 1 cup granulated sugar (1/2 pound) 10 large eggs 1 Tbsp vanilla extract 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 Tbsp Grand Marnier Place diced brioche in a well buttered ovenproof baking dish. In a separate bowl, beat together all other ingredients until well combined. Pour custard over brioche, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours. Place baking dish in a larger roasting pan and fill roasting pan with water until water level reaches halfway up baking dish. This will allow the bread pudding to cook evenly and at a slow pace. Bake in a 300ºF preheated oven for about 1 1/2 hours, or until golden brown on top and firm to the touch. Serve warm with toffee sauce and whiskey ice cream. To make toffee sauce: 1/2 pound unsalted melted butter 1/2 kg dark brown sugar 125 mL light corn syrup 250 mL heavy cream In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter and add the brown sugar, corn syrup and heavy cream. Mix very well over medium heat until the sauce comes to a boil. Once a rapid boil occurs, remove from the heat and let cool at room temperature. Serve warm over bread pudding. To make whiskey ice cream: 500 mL heavy cream 250 mL half-and-half 1/2 vanilla bean 3/4 cup sugar 8 large egg yolks 1/2 cup Jameson’s Irish whiskey In a mixing bowl, combine half of the sugar and all of the egg yolks. Whisk until yolks turn a pale yellow colour. Cut vanilla bean pod open with a knife and scrape beans into the cream, saving the bean. In a saucepan, heat the cream, half and half, the saved vanilla bean and remaining sugar until it come to a boil. Remove vanilla bean. Slowly pour the hot cream into the egg mixture while constantly whisking. If you pour too fast or stop whisking, the eggs will scramble. Pour mixture through a fine strainer, cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight. Before churning, mix the whiskey into the ice cream base and run through an ice cream machine. Before using, let chill in freezer for 8 hours to infuse flavours. MARCH | APRIL 2008




Café Brio chef Laurence Munn and his staff are doing it for themselves—from brining their own olives, to salt-curing sardines caught from local waters to making their own butter. by Shelora Sheldan ~ photos by Rebecca Wellman



ith all the talk lately of food sustainability, buying locally farmed ingre- an immense ice bath, the weekly 12-pound batch of European-style butter cools down. A dients and artisanal techniques, chef Laurence Munn of Café Brio is lot of us have mistakenly made butter by overwhipping cream, but this butter is deliberate doing more than talking. He’s proving that with patience, determina- and labour-intensive. Once organic 36-percent cream sits overnight with culture to sour a bit, the mixture is tion and a whole lot of hard work, a restaurant’s kitchen is capable of chilled and then churned with the aid of the kitchen Hobart. The butter is then split from “walking the talk.” “It got to the point where I started looking at what we bought,” says Munn. “Most every- the buttermilk, drained, washed in cold water, seasoned with fleur de sel, molded and cut thing we sold was purchased, and I thought, why couldn’t we make these things our- into one-pound blocks. “It’s a bit of a process,” says Munn. “About two days.” The cheese he’s making is even more of a process. “It’s difficult because there are so selves?” Since assuming the kitchen’s reins a year ago, he has significantly cut down on deliveries from the food giants (think of those food miles), has motivated his staff to many things involved, but I’m happy with how they’re progressing. Cheese is really expensive to buy, so if we can make our own, it’s great, and it’s really popular.” From cheese curds embrace the craft of cooking and has become a model of self-sufficiency. While many chefs on the Island and the mainland have taken the local-regional oath and to Cheddars using goat and cow milk, Munn has even successfully attempted bigger and been inspired by the time-honoured techniques of slow cooking, butchery and charcuterie, more complex cheeses. He’s currently aging a Gran Padano-type cheese and the biggest yet, an eight pound wheel of Swiss. These house-made cheeses complement the existing Munn is taking things to a whole new level. He started by building a curing room in the basement of the restaurant, then making a artisan cheese menu. If one day is devoted to cheese, another day will be devoted to meats with the arrival of series of cured meats from pigs raised at Sloping Hill Farm in Qualicum Beach. House-made mustards and pickled vegetables quickly followed suit, as did making bread in-house – one or two whole pigs or sides of beef. The restaurant now offers a separate charcuterie something that had always been purchased. Pastas on the 90-seat restaurant’s menu menu where diners can choose from 12 items – salami, air-dried meats, pâtés and terrines. became handmade and stuffed. Buckwheat pappardelle, purple carrot agnolotti and far- Eventually, the meats will be made available to go, sold by the 100 grams. I quickly accept a tour of the basement larder where shelves show off a colourful display falle have all but eliminated the dried varieties previously purchased. One dried variety celebrating the autumn harvest: crabapple jelly, quince membrillo, bread-and-butter pickremains. Meanwhile, a whole new kitchen routine was being orchestrated: the regular delivery of les, white heirloom cucumber pickles with fennel, spicy green beans, pickled golden beets, whole pigs and sides of beef was carefully broken down so every part of the animal was set spicy Hungarian hot peppers and sweet brandied pickled melon. Their destiny as accomaside for specific uses. Fat is rendered or used as a sausage ingredient; cheeks and tongue paniments to the meaty miracles aging in the adjoining curing room is certain. I’m introbecome headcheese; ears and tails enhance stock; shoulders are confited, brined or duced to its new inhabitants and fantasize about Brio being an exquisite place to be trapped. Hello, lamb smoked; and old school prosciutto. Greetings, techniques employed. o ra n g e - c h i l e - f e n n e l Ledenspeck, pork loin salami. wrapped with the belly, I come back to earth cured and smoked, is a as Munn proudly points prime example. A few tools out a lamb coppa, an like a sausage stuffing Italian dry-curing spemachine were purchased cialty that typically uses and the hunt was on for pork. “I’ve never seen more quality local ingredianyone make that ents and essentials like before – this is my own rennet for making cheeses. personal project, so to Once the cheesemaking speak.” There is also began, so did the reality of lonza made from pork an increased workload for loin, a Tuscan-style his adopted staff. salami with red wine “When I first started and fennel hanging here, everyone had been obediently. And bresaodoing the same job for a la – an air-cured beef – year and taking a nap!” he as well as pancetta and says. “So, not everyone multiple prosciutto, in was keen at first because it various stages of aging, was a fairly big change. the oldest being 10 However, when we started months. “We had some to do more, everyone that was six months old became excited because it and it was wonderful!” was all things that they he notes. hadn’t done before.” Two pristine wheels His philosophy is more of Cheddar – one goat, practical than political. one cow – sit aging on “I’m always trying to push tidy shelves along with myself and push the guys, a six-month-old but not in a harsh way,” he Montasio and the newly adds, “because I want installed Swiss. Off in everybody to enjoy themone corner is a white selves – so they’ll stay tub holding red wine around here and learn.” Red rind = farmhouse cheddar. Orange rind = swiss Chef Laurie with Zach Louis prepare to breakvinegar and two large One of his cooks, in the aging process (growing eyes). Round and down a whole pig. bins containing 200 Matthew Jersey, is hunched pyramid shapes = ash ripened goat cheese pounds of Sevillano over a bag of casings for olives sitting in a salt future fresh sausages. brine. Every two weeks, “You get to learn how to make different things,” says Jersey. “No one does that – all the cheeses, curing meats. the brine is changed and the salt is increased exponentially, eventually making its way into Butchery is a huge one as well. I’d rather stay here late and do butchery – it’s a good way the olive. The olives, 300 pounds of them in all, hail from California, the most travelled of his ingreto end the night, actually.” dients so far. “I did the other 100 pounds in a lye-cured method,” he says, “which is a more Jersey’s attitude is a breath of fresh air in a market screaming for qualified staff. Munn’s kitchen team consists of six cooks, all keen to stock Brio’s larder, which is now industrial technique.” Both batches will be ready in the spring and used anywhere the taking on deli warehouse proportions. “Most everything on the menu is stuff we make our- kitchen uses olives. And what about those sardines? Munn and Jersey cleaned, scaled, gutted and filleted 100 selves, except the Parmesan and one dried pasta that we buy,” says Munn. “We certainly don’t get any prepared goods anymore.” Even though things like lemons, limes and olive kilos, then soaked them in a brine solution before dry-curing. It took five hours. Not bad. oil are still being ordered in, Munn’s vision is always on the future. He hopes to bring in an “We had races to see who could clean the fish the fastest to help pass the time, says Munn. olive oil press to make finishing oils for service and a pasta machine that makes all sorts “It was fun.” The sardines are passing their time in the walk-in among the usual provisions of local produce and carefully labelled jars and metal containers – evidence of even more of shapes and sizes. No task is too daunting apparently. They’re now brining their own olives, salt-curing sar- projects. Like the olives, the sardines will be ready in the spring. There are obviously no half measures being employed here. “Basically, I just want to put dines caught from local waters and making their own butter. Yep, butter. With a workbook always by his side, Munn begins his day around 1 or 1:30 in the after- together the best product we can,” he says, “using the local people as much as possible, noon, often staying 12 hours to work on projects after dinner service or, alternatively, com- and be able to produce as many things ourselves.” He’s definitely succeeding. I ask Munn what advice he would give other chefs inspired to take this arduous route. ing in on days off. He’s a quiet person and goes about his work with calm and focused determination, coax- “The most important aspect is the passion for the craft of cooking,” he says. “You have to ing the best from his ingredients and from his staff. “The reason that we [chefs] are here is be willing to put in extra hours every day, come in on days off, make mistakes and learn from them. And if the passion is not there then the commitment won’t be there either.” to cook,” he says. “The more we understand, the more we can do.” All this extra work begs the question: “Is it ultimately worth it? Munn answers in his charI watch as a batch of fromage frais is drained to be later mixed with a truffle puree for an acteristically understated way. “Business is up,” he replies. “We’re pretty pleased. It’s been upcoming winemaker’s dinner. Meanwhile, rennet is being added to a pot of whole milk for a good year.” a future four-pound cheddar; another holds goat’s milk for an ash-ripened goat cheese. In






THE EAT 10TH ANNIVERSARY PRIZE GIVEAWAY A thank-you to our readers Help shape the EAT of the future and enter for a chance to WIN a fantastic prize. To enter, just tell us what you think! We want to ask you a few questions about how we can best serve you and what you would like to read about in EAT. Go to and take a few minutes to let us know. As a thank-you for your time, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be entered in a contest for your chance to WIN one of 58 prizes. We look forward to your feedback and to covering the exciting food and wine scene in British Columbia in the years ahead. Gary Hynes, Editor, EAT magazine

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Anatomy of an Empire Keeping watch on Sean Heather’s Gastown fiefdom.


ressed casually in light blue jeans, an argyle sweater and a long winter coat, 41year-old restaurateur Sean Heather stands and closes a notebook computer when I arrive a few minutes late. We’re at his award-winning Salt Tasting Room, and his bearded Irish face is quick to move from a big smile to a barely discernible frown and then back again as we discuss his successes and failures over a lifetime working the restaurant racket. When talk turns to the equally feared and much-anticipated move of his landmark gastropub, the Irish Heather, a new enthusiasm takes over. As he excitedly pores over blueprints for the new space, I’m only a little comforted by the fact that the new “Heather,” so abbreviated by its legions of loyal patrons over its first eleven years, will be just across the street from the old one. It’s just a slight stagger from 217 Carrall to 212 Carrall, but still, I can’t help but be a little nervous for him and for me, a customer of long standing. The plans reveal that the change of address will be the least significant thing about the move (listening to a tape recording of our conversation, it’s me who sounds uncertain, not him). It turns out it isn’t a move so much as it is a complete metamorphosis. >

The man with a plan looks to reinvent three of his businesses this summer.



By Andrew Morrison Photo by Tracey Kusiewicz

The project is slated for completion this that included Michael Mameli, now the wine director at lar destination spots in the city. That summer also saw the debut of Fetch, a portable hot June, and it will undoubtedly be one of the more stressful CinCin; Geoff Lundholm, the owner/chef of the Moustache moments for Sean Heather in the history of the little empire Café; and Barb Philip, Canada’s first female Master of Wine. dog cart that trolled the corner of Water and Abbott in he has carved out in Gastown. Both his reputation and his When he felt he had accrued enough experience, he struck Gastown, selling top quality franks with unorthodox condiments like chipotle ketchup and Piccalilli relish. Later that past successes appear to be riding on the successful exe- out on his own. winter, he pooled together some of Vancouver’s top frontSeeing an opportunity in Gastown when a seedy pasta cution of what amounts to a roll of the dice. To my eye, the challenge is akin to untying a Gordian knot while crossing bar called the Carrall Street Café closed in early 1997, of-house talents to give Yaletown a go with Lucky Diner. But the Rubicon under the Sword of Damocles. With two kids, Heather pounced. He borrowed money from his parents, despite good press and an industry crowd, it quickly withanother on the way and a tireless work ethic that appears took out a small business loan and took on a partner (who ered and died, having survived just seven months. to border on an indifference to good sense, I don’t envy him he quickly bought out) to take it over. For $147,000, the Publicized plans for a spinoff of Salt (to be called Pepper) were discreetly shelved, and Heather returned the full beam original Irish Heather was born. today. He has his work cut out for him. “Gastown was the Wild West,” he remembers, and not at of his focus, full circle, back to Gastown. Before we go any further, it’s best to meet the man. Today, The decision to move the Irish Heather was thrust upon he’s keeping gesticulations to a hands-in-pocket minimum all wistfully. “We had to circle the wagons, and sometimes and talking quickly with his unique lilt, the product of an bring a little Irish justice to get the drug dealers away from him by circumstance. This year, the heritage buildings that upbringing that has travelled. His blend of an accent began outside the door.” Within the first two weeks, he had a few house all three of his original Gastown businesses (the Irish with a Toronto birth to a father from Dublin and a mother soul-searching moments when he’d ask himself “What have Heather, the Shebeen, the Salty Tongue) have been schedfrom Newfoundland. Its pinched, staccato phonemes and I done?” After two months, he was pretty certain he would uled for seismic upgrades, meaning that all three would softened vowels point to him finding his voice when he fail. But he made a commitment to weather whatever came need to close for a costly three months. Rather than wait it moved to Ireland at the age of five, settling in Limerick in by serving good beer and good food at cheap prices and out, Heather was able to secure a lease for the King’s the west (“Frank McCourt country,” he chuckles). A cosmo- be—together with new wife, Erin, and younger sister Building across the street (which has already been retrofitRoisin—“as Irish as we are.” It was a family affair, he says, ted and comes complete with air-conditioning, something politan restaurant life has filled in the rest. the originals never had). He has since announced his intenIn his early teens, Heather would spend summers at his “and we really knuckled down.” Since then, the original Irish Heather has developed into tions to move all three in one go. Considering how wellgrandparents’ house in London’s Knightsbridge. They were workaholics and would brook no “laying about,” so they Gastown’s only modern icon, the pulse of a neighbourhood loved these establishments are in the community, the move found him work as a dishwasher one year and as a porter still trying to wriggle its way free of its reputation as is more like a heart transplant than the cold execution of a working the graveyard shift in a block of luxury apartments Vancouver’s rough and tumble annex to the troubled down- forward-thinking business plan: it will need to be done delthe next. He had no friends in the City, so at an early age town east side. Its brick walls, quality menu and authentic icately to ensure it still beats. Heather has enlisted Rob Edmonds and David Nicolay of feel amount to a real divorce from the transparently kitschy work became his most reliable companion. Leaving high school in 1985, he moved to London perma- and false “Plastic Paddy” pubs that still continue to plague Evoke to perform this surgery. Their design company is the new world, a fact that has been inspiring enough to responsible for such clean-lined and modern Vancouver nently and got a job working as a restaurants as Coast, Metro, Habit commis waiter at the famed Maxim’s and Sanafir. As Heather tells it, their de Paris. “You really had to earn job is to bring the Irish Heather up to your stripes there,” he recalls of the the 21st century, a reflection of the French chain. The IRA were very successful, urban Ireland of today, active in those days, he says, “so it leaving much of the romantic, wasn’t a great place to be Irish.” The Guinness-soaked ideal of popular English cooks would call him “f-ing culture behind. Evoke’s track record Paddy and f-ing Mick,” and after runfor nailing their client’s visions is ning their hot plates up three floors exemplary, so I fear not the coming of from the kitchen he’d receive similar something soullessly substandard. abuse and derision from the excluBut I worry, still. sively French waitstaff. “It was 12 The plan is to incorporate the pub months of pure hell, but I put my and the deli into the same space, and nose down and kept working.” By there is a second building in the rear age 19, he had served Sting, Freddie that will make room for the Shebeen Mercury and a host of other celebriin all its storied glory. Having seen ties, learning the ins and outs of the the plans, I am tempted to imagine hospitality business the hard way— the end result as something extraorfrom the ground up. “Everybody dinary: the last affirmative breath came to Maxim’s,” he remembers, and final punctuation point to a adding, with a laugh, that he once tedious debate that still asks if saw Phil Collins turned away for not Gastown is back and back for good. wearing a jacket. For Sean Heather, I have little When he tired of the restaurant doubt that opening day will be a industry, he would toil at other jobs, homecoming of sorts, a return to the but he always seemed to gravitate The new Salt Cellar, a modern and secluded spot sense of possibility he relied on back to it. When he was hired by the when he arrived here fresh but not under the award-winning Salt Tasting Room in Gastown. Irish airline Ryanair in the early ’90s, flush. With just $50 in his jeans, perhe slipped naturally into their food department as an assistant general manager until he was engender the loyalties of thousands of Vancouverites. I was haps of a similar cut and colour to the kind he wears to Salt laid off with a “golden handshake.” Taking his settlement one of them, always a sucker for the warmth, the quiet today, he rolled the dice as he will roll them again this sumon a six-month spree, he hitchhiked around Ireland— whisper of other people’s memories and the Guinness- mer, and in a West that is still a little Wild. When he takes me downstairs to reveal Salt Cellar, the “hanging out in restaurants and pubs”—and tried to estab- braised steak pot pies. new 50-seat private room and lounge in the basement, I see Heather went on to develop seven other projects in the lish what he wanted to do with his life. Alice Waters of California’s iconic Chez Panisse was a next 10 years. Not all of them were successful, but he start- the pride and excitement come again. This newest project, “hero” of his; an unusual bent for an Irish lad whose friends ed out well enough. He quietly opened the Shebeen a warm-up to the big move, is a taste of the more modern were more interested in their favourite rugby players than Whiskey House in 2000, one of the most charming venues turn he’s toying with taking. Opened by the time this goes anything else. Heather, despite himself, was a foodie. He I’ve ever seen for small private events. Located in a heritage to print, the Salt Cellar will boast geothermal heating, cured admired how Waters and chef Jeremiah Towers were “blaz- brick coach house that’s tucked away in a leafy arcade meats hanging from ancient beams, 1,000 bottles of wine ing trails” at their Berkeley restaurant, and it was his dream behind the Irish Heather, it houses one of Canada’s largest stored in a floor-to-ceiling glass case, polished concrete to see it up close, maybe even do something similar him- selections of whiskey and enough atmosphere to suffocate floors, a long communal table, and people ... presumably those who pine for something a little more real than your lots of them. self. The new Heather-Tongue-Shebeen triumvirate will see average 21st-century watering hole. Nevertheless, the prospect of being an illegal alien in the Two years later he opened the Salty Tongue, a hot lunch strokes from this modern brush. I just hope it won’t sweep United States with no money sobered him enough to steer him straight, and in a moment of youthful clarity he looked spot and deli right next door to the Heather that sells sand- much of the charm away, too. Selfishly, I’ll remember the at his well-worn map of the western seaboard of North wiches as fast as they can make them (“we feed hundreds original as the first place my wife wanted to show me when America and drew a direct line north from San Francisco daily there,” he says). Next, he would midwife the ill-fated we first visited Vancouver before we were married. We sat in until his finger landed on Vancouver. Remembering his Limerick Junction up the street with an old friend. It was an the back room during a rainstorm, still courting, sipping Canadian passport, something his mother had often said “ode-to-the-working-class” kind of bar that never really well-pulled pints while supping on bangers and mash. The might come in handy one day, he splurged on a one-way took off the way he wanted it to, so he walked away from it food was never revelatory (“we’re not going to set the world just two months in. “You always need an exit strategy in this on fire,” Heather once told me), but it was simple and honticket to Lotusland and arrived with just $50 in his pocket. est, and there was a life to it and a history that warmed the Very quickly, he took a job as the graveyard supervisor at business,” he grins. Then, in the summer of 2006, he pulled a rabbit out of his room when it was at its coldest and made us not want to Benny’s Bagels in Kitsilano, thinking he’d do a year, make some money, and then split back down south to San hat with Salt Tasting Room and a new partner, Scott ever go. That sort of thing has trouble crossing streets. Only when June rolls around and the neighbourhood gets Hawthorn. Located around the corner in sketchy Blood Francisco again to chase his dream. But he stayed on. its hands on it will we know if Sean Heather has made the Alley, the odd spot blew as a “perfect storm.” Though it For much of the mid-’90s he took on-again off-again catering gigs with Culinary Capers and was the lunch man- served only cheese, charcuterie, beer and wine, it garnered right move. There is little to do but wait and hope. Hope ager at Cascabel, Adam Busby’s restaurant on West 1st accolades and attentions from near and far despite not hav- that what once was will be again, and wait to see if hope (now the Smoking Dog). There, Heather worked with a crew ing a kitchen. It remains one of the more revered and popu- still counts for much. EAT MARCH | APRIL 2008


to table


Polderside Farm Virginia and Jens-Hugo Jacobsen lovingly tend their ducks and chickens the old-fashioned way: humanely, organically, slowly. by Tara Lee


n the wee hours of the morning, Virginia and Jens-Hugo Jacobsen of Polderside Farms drive to Vancouver International Airport to pick up a batch of newly hatched chicks that have just arrived from France. Together, they delicately place the cardboard boxes into the warmth of their van and drive home to their Yarrow farm in the shadow of Vedder Mountain. There, in a two-storey barn, they unload their downy cargo above a gaggle of ducklings below. “My husband takes the babies out of the boxes, a handful at a time, like soap bubbles out of a bath,” says Virginia. The unbroken silence that pervades this process prevents the chicks from mistakenly bonding with the Jacobsens. It’s also symbolic of the couple’s reverence, respect and care for the animals they raise. Both Virginia and Jens have grown up believing in the bounty of the earth and have lived the joys of the farmers who tend it. Jens was born in Norway where farming was a way of life for him. Virginia grew up on an Alberta farm with a lifestyle that she took for granted. “My parents and I lived on the land and grew our own food. I thought everybody did the same. Once you’re raised with that, it is just a way of life,” she explains. When the two met 35 years ago, their romantic chemistry sprang in part from a shared food philosophy: “Jens brought me a snapper on the first date, and on the second date, he wanted to know why we weren’t raising chickens.” And so began a rich partnership that saw the couple installed first in Abbotsford and then on Vancouver Island where they supplied their greenhouse fruits and vegetables to BC Hot House. After 12 years of idyllic island life, they relocated to the Fraser Valley in order to be at the centre of an increasingly concentrated farming community. The move and the decision to ramp up their existing poultry production resulted in considerable bureaucratic strife with the BC Chicken Marketing Board. Misunderstandings over permits and a raid and seizure of a flock of roasters demonstrated the obstacles that face small, local farmers. Fortunately, the issues were resolved, and Virginia is now thankful that the couple can co-exist undisturbed among larger farming conglomerates.



photos by Gary Hynes


EAT farm

The Jacobsens are indeed unique farmers. They never raise more than 3,500 birds on each floor at a time in their 30,000-square-foot barn and are exacting with every aspect of their micromanaged operation (there are no employees). They carefully source ducks and chickens from French stocks that have been tightly controlled for generations. Virginia explains, “In France, they don’t want creatures to be grown hybridized. That is why we chose the redbro. It’s like an old-fashioned chicken that you remember from storybooks.” The Jacobsens are the only ones in Canada who raise the redbro, a bird prized for its longer legs, thinner skin and higher meat-to-fat ratio. Similarly, their ducks are from an old French breeding stock of Long Island ducks (descendents of the Peking duck) and are known for being naturally full-breasted and especially succulent when cooked. The couple’s adherence to tradition also extends to raising conditions. Without any help, the Jacobsens (now in their mid-60s) spend the first 10 days of the birds’ lives in and out of the barn every hour to give their “babies” the best care possible. Unlike industrial farms that have high mortality rates, Polderside loses few birds due to their hardy immune systems and the couple’s attentive care. “With the last shipments, we have only lost one or none. We just don’t have mortality at all,” Virginia says proudly. After four weeks, when the “babies” have lost their fluff and are “all feathered up,” the Jacobsens throw open their barn doors and invite the fresh air inside. Although the birds have room to run and play, they never leave the barn and are considered “free run” rather than “free range.” The flock stays indoors to prevent them from being exposed to potential disease. “With the potential of the avian flu being brought in by wildlife, it is dangerous having our chickens out pasturing,” Virginia explains, adding that they use no antibiotics, hormones or cooked food in the feed. Instead, they mimic a traditional outdoor diet of alfalfa, corn, wheat and sunflower seeds. The seeds are especially important because they naturally boost the bird’s immune system. “We only give what the original chicken would eat,” insists Virginia. The quality of the birds’ lives matters to the Jacobsens because they see themselves as

Love birds: Virginia and Jens-Hugo Jacobsen at their Polderside Farm in the Fraser Valley.

guardians of the animals they tend. As Virginia talks about her role on the farm, she exudes maternal affection for her birds. She describes the ducks as being “funny” and the chickens as having “a wonderful personality. As they get to know you, they will come and stand on your feet and you can tickle their backs. We get attached to them and they get attached to us.” Despite this friendly relationship, the Jacobsens are always aware that they are working for the benefit of the final consumer. “There is always that moment when they have to go to the processor, and we realize we have to betray our friends,” Virginia explains. “But then we realize that we have raised them the best way that we can, and that we are sending them off to be nutritious food for other people.” While a longer life cycle requires more expense and more labour, it also means consumers receive a fully developed seven-pound (five-pounds-dressed) bird. “Our babies are grown to nine weeks so they become an adult, real bird and you get more chicken taste and all the nutrients you need from the bird,” says Virginia. Compare this humane and responsible treatment of the Polderside birds to what goes on in larger operations. The consumer preference for chicken breasts has fuelled a demand for birds that are market-friendly but also physically debilitated by their unnaturally large breasts. These birds are packed into high-density conditions and then sold after 36 to 41 days when they are physically immature, and only three to four pounds in weight. Farmers save money on feed and can reap the rewards of a much higher turnover rate. In contrast, the Jacobsens are able to accommodate only five flocks a year, due to their much lengthier nine-week cycle, and their commitment to allotting each of the birds at least three to four square feet in their barn. Economies of scale and the lower cost of mass-produced birds mean that conventional farmers have an advantage over small producers like the Jacobsens. While industrial chicks cost roughly 50 cents, the Jacobsens must pay at least $2 for their French birds. Factor in the extra feeding and labour costs to raise the birds to adulthood, and Polderside products are much more expensive for producers to produce and for consumer to purchase.

In a world of cheap, mass-produced food, the Jacobsens have faced an uphill battle when it comes to convincing both restaurateurs and final consumers to sample their products. Virginia recollects the reticence from buyers who were wary about their chickens in comparison to the bulk trays of chicken breasts at most supermarkets: “I have had to self-market. I have had to phone, talk and network to get people to try the product. There still is resistance since people are so used to cheap food, and our chicken is more expensive.” Fortunately, it is only this initial resistance that the Jacobsens have had to overcome. Once consumers taste Polderside chicken and duck, they realize the improvements in flavour and texture vastly justify the price differential. When asked what “chicken” tastes like, Virginia is momentarily stumped but then responds, “I don’t know how you would describe that chicken taste, but I do know that the industrial chicken has no taste at all. Our chicken has that true chicken flavour. It is moist and has juice to it. It is amazing and not something you want to cover up with a lot of spices.” In an ideal world, Virginia would invite people into her kitchen and allow the simple persuasiveness of her roast chicken to win them to the side of local farmers. Despite the popularity of farmers’ markets, there exists a significant divide between farmers and consumers. “As the farmer, we tried for a long time to educate consumers, but farmers are now locked down so that the consumer can’t access the farmer anymore. What is left are the chefs asking the questions and wanting to cook more nutritious meals,” Virginia says. And so, every Thursday, the Jacobsens load their van and deliver to the many chefs and butchers that source their products. Currently, Polderside birds can be found in five retail outlets: Armando’s Finest Meats on Granville Island, Cioffi’s Meat Market in Burnaby, So.cial Custom Butcher Shop in Gastown, 3P Natural and Exotic Meats in North Vancouver and Yellow Barn in Chilliwack. John Burke, manager at the So.cial butcher shop, was excited when he sampled Polderside poultry and has convinced his customers to do the same. “Initially, they are a bit more sticker-shocked, but the chickens are actually only a bit more expensive than free-range organic chickens. CONT’D ON THE FOLLOWING PAGE MARCH | APRIL 2008


Simple Cooking Virginia follows these cooking instructions when she prepares duck and chicken in her farmhouse kitchen. She adds only salt and pepper to her chicken and then cooks it in the oven in a covered dish at 250 to 300ºF. Intoxicating wafts of roasting chicken fill the room as Virginia tests for doneness by gently twisting the drumstick off the bird. As for the duck, Virginia crisps the skin by taking off the lid shortly before she takes it out of the oven for serving. She then pours off the oil and fat, puts it in the freezer for it to solidify, and then saves it for panfrying potatoes.—TL




Baby beets

white truffle marinated Okanagan goat cheese

Duck breast

Pea shoots Tracey Kusiewicz

Once I tasted it, I realized how much tastier it is,” he insists. Burke likes the flavour of the birds so much that he uses the duck to make pâtés and the chicken to make sausages, both of which sell out so rapidly that customers are left clamouring for more. Polderside and butchers like So.cial are an ideal match because they share a similar belief in local and ethical food production. The Jacobsens have worked equally hard to supply to restaurants like CinCin, Aurora Bistro and Raincity Grill that have the same mindset about food. In his days at West, chef David Hawksworth was one of the first to source from Polderside and is more than willing to pay the extra cost for such a premium product. “The duck meat tastes nice and clean,” says Hawksworth enthusiastically, “and there is a lot of it. The fat is very clean on the duck, and it’s just a well-rounded flavour. And the same goes for the chicken. They just taste like duck and chicken are supposed to taste.” For the dinner menu, Hawksworth brined the breasts and then roasted them to order, while for lunch, he often deboned the legs and filled them with bread and prosciutto stuffing. He also incorporates the ducks in terrines and ravioli, uses the bones for stock and sauces, and even renders the fat down for confit. Over at Kitsilano’s Gastropod, chef Angus An expresses a similar respect for the birds. “People who come to our restaurant are looking for something different, and Virginia preaches the same theory in her farming,” he says. It took An a couple months to get on the Jacobsens’ list of steady customers, but it was well worth the wait. “The first time I had her chicken was at Fuel next door when Rob [co-owner/chef Robert Belcham] was telling me about it,” An remembers. “It was the most intensified chicken of any chicken that I had ever tasted.” An showcases this intense flavour by creating a ballotine of both breast and thigh meat. On Saturdays, he offers a slow-cooked duck breast with crispy skin, a Cabernet reduction, Swiss chard and fig purée. Even though he only receives five ducks per week, he simply couldn’t resist creating a weekend dish. “I don’t need to put it on the menu, but it is so nice. I had to have it,” he says. Hawksworth and An are just two examples of a growing number of chefs who are demanding more high quality, ethically treated products. They are highly appreciative of the birds the Jacobsens supply and thankful for the supportive relationships they forge with their customers. Unfortunately, the Jacobsens follow farming practices that are dying out in the face of large-scale food production. “Farming is being done by less and less people and it is losing its naturalness,” says Virginia. “The scientists are changing what has been given freely to this earth. Nothing is authentic anymore.” This altered agricultural industry frustrates Virginia, who wishes to make a difference to the local eating landscape. She despairs that financial obstacles will make it more and more difficult for small farmers to survive. “Farming is not respected. There is no support financially for farmers, particularly for farmers like us who are trying to grow a better product for human consumption. It is so important to support the small and regional farmer,” she urges. This final note of warning is indicative of Virginia’s fears for the future, but her hope is that change is still possible. She and her husband continue to believe that a hopeful future lies with the small but growing number of chefs and consumers who are returning to the land. Their ultimate dream is to inspire a young couple who will carry on their farming traditions and recruit other people into the business. Until that time, they have plans to obtain more quota, build a second barn, and above all, maintain their unswerving farming principles. “We hope that we can do this until we are 100,” Virginia says. “We are truly in our bliss even though we will never be rich. We grow our own food and I think we are doing something right in the world.”

Aurora Bistro's Tea Smoked Polderside Duck appetiser | $12 The meat sits in a brine of maple syrup, 5 spice, and brown sugar for 1-2 days. After rinsing and drying, refrigeration then promotes a tacky, pellicule coating. This is needed to retain the flavours of the smoke mix (Earl Grey tea, brown sugar, and rice). To plate, owner/chef Jeff Van Geest starts by setting down thin slices of duck breast. He then adds baby beets from Hazelmere Organic Farm that have been marinated in a pickled plum vinaigrette and decorates with pea shoot tendrils and little balls of white truffle marinated Okanagan goat cheese. —A. Morrison Aurora Bistro | 2420 Main St. | East Vancouver | 604-873-9944 |

WINE MATCH• 2006 Tantalus Riesling | $22.00 Slightly off-dry, the Tantalus


Riesling will enhance the maple syrup flavours used in the marinade and the intensity of flavours will withstand the smokiness. Its pronounced acidity should make you forget you are indulging in a fatty meat dish and match perfectly the pickled plum vinaigrette and goat cheese. Our mouth is watering! —M. Bouffard & M. Morris

Buying Polderside

Polderside Farm chickens and ducks are available at fine restaurants and these retail stores: 3-P Natural and Exotic Meats, Windsor Packing Co., Armando's Meats, Social at le Magasin Butcher Shoppe, Cioffe's, and Topper's.

Everyone Can Cook Midweek Meals

dark chocolate herbs & spices coffee & tea ice cream

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farm & garden

Organic Fair Inc. is a grower, processor, and distributor of certified organic, fair trade, and biodynamic products, located on Vancouver Island in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. Visit our farm at 1935 Doran Road • Cobble Hill, BC V0R 1L5 250.733.2035 •

The sharpest knife on the block.

opular local food writer Eric Akis has a new cookbook out. Entitled Everyone Can Cook Midweek Meals, it is the fourth book in his series under the Everyone Can Cook headline. It is most handsomely designed book of the series (Whitecap Books has done a bang-up job) with Michael Tourigny’s mouthwatering photographs and Jacqui Thomas’ colourful and easy to use design. The recipes in Midweek Meals are described by author Akis as an antidote to “factory-prepared, ready-to-heat foods”. With a little extra effort Akis maintains, preparing simple family meals during the week can be a pleasurable experience and the resulting dinners more nutritious. Thumbing through the pages the recipes all share some common denominators: they are fast and easy to make, the recipe ingredient lists are not overly large (nor do they require a culinary dictionary) and most reflect current eating trends. The chapters focus on breakfasts, lunches, main course soups and salads with dinner entrees sub-divided into noodles, slow-cooker, casual, international, stews, braises and roasts. Desserts aren’t neglected with offering such as One-Pan Chocolate Cake, Hot Caramel Pudding Cake and Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies. Main course recipes that caught my eye included: Fish Tacos, Asian-Style Vegetable Noodle Bowl, Slow Cooker Pork Back Ribs in Barbecue Sauce and Large Batch and Freeze Meatballs. The last making about seven dozen meatballs which can be frozen and used whenever you want to make Meatballs in Sour Cream Gravy with Parsley Noodles (page 68.) Keep this book handy in the kitchen and you may never have to wander the frozen food wasteland at the supermarket again. Whitecap Books ISBN 155285-924 —G.H.


Razor sharp and exceptionally light, Global knives are unique in the world of fine cutlery. HAUTE CUISINE

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EATjobs launched at


AT publisher Gary Hynes is pleased to announce the launch of EATjobs – for Vancouver Island’s hospitality industry. Launching February 25, EATjobs will serve up Vancouver Island’s Hospitality Industry postings, positions with British Columbia’s great resort properties and select opportunities from Vancouver. “All indications are that the labour shortage affecting BC’s Hospitality Industry will continue for the foreseeable future,” says Hynes, “especially as we enter into the busy spring and summer seasons.” The EATjobs board will allow employers to more effectively post and manage the recruiting of Qualified jobseekers—not only on the Island, but reaching the province’s industry professionals like only EAT Magazine can. Employers wishing more information are invited to contact Gary Hynes at EAT Magazine by visiting, calling 250.384.9042 or by email HOSPITALITY JOBS FROM EAT MAGAZINE MARCH | APRIL 2008


Bella Italia If one can get past the memories of raffia-wrapped bottles and the peculiarities of its labelling system, Italy’s wines can be molto molto bène. By Michaela Morris and Michelle Bouffard.

Top: Barolo Bottom left: Grown in the southern Italian region of Puglia, Primitivo is rich and toothsome with pruny flavours and usually clocks in at 14+ percent alcohol. The Tormaresca ‘Torcicoda’ is a classic example. Center: Ceuso Scurati Nero d’Avola from Sicily is one of our top picks. Bottom right: A perfect lunch at Badia Coltibuono in Tuscany,


straw-bottomed bottle of Chianti sitting on a red-and-white checkered tablecloth may be your only encounter with Italian wine. Even if the wine wasn’t memorable, the romantic image lingers like the fond memories of a long-lost high school sweetheart. You’ve moved on, however, and so has the wine world. You may have been tempted to relive your past, but the Italian selection has broadened and those straw bottles have almost disappeared from the shelves. The enormous range of Italian wine is intimidating, and confusing wine labels don’t help. Besides having to decipher a foreign language, you are faced with labels that highlight the region rather than the grape. With 20 provinces and a multitude of sub-regions within each, only a super-human memory could keep it all straight. To complicate matters further, some wines are labelled by grape variety. But don’t expect to see Chardonnay or Merlot; Italy has more than 2,000 indigenous grapes, many with unrecognizable names … Pecorino? Is it a grape, a region or a type of cheese? The label rarely offers any answers. Completely daunted, many wine drinkers have given up and left the Italian sections in search of something more familiar. Quite understandable. After years of studying wine,



Italian labels still puzzle us. However, our fear of missing out on some of the most delicious treats has compelled us to persevere. If you wish to rekindle your romance with Italian wines, the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival is the perfect opportunity, particularly this year as Italy is the theme country. For just a few shekels, you will have Italy at your fingertips. You may not like everything, but with a wide range of wine styles, Italy offers something for everyone. Travelling through the country, Italy’s diversity is remarkable. It is a short drive from one region to the next, and each province has its own unique scenery, local cuisine and wines that complement the food so perfectly. Italy has guarded its regionality religiously. This is without a doubt Italy’s great strength. Piedmont The northwestern region of Piedmont captivates us in all aspects. Steep groomed vineyards enveloped in fog provide a breathtaking setting. If you are lucky enough to be there on a clear day, you realize how close the surrounding Alps are. When it comes to the cuisine, Piedmont wins the award for food obsession. Giacomo Conterno from Aldo Conterno winery engaged us in an hour-long discussion about local restaurants before opening a single bottle of wine. Our mouths were watering and all we wanted was a sip of his renowned Barolo. Instead, he started us off with a Freisa and then poured us a Dolcetto, next a Barbera, leaving his Barolos for the grande finale. The buildup was a delicious reminder that within Piedmont there is a wealth of indigenous varieties. The most famous grape is Nebbiolo, responsible for producing prestigious wines in the regions of Barolo and Barbaresco. They are the pinnacle of Italian wine, and their high prices are justified. With haunting aromas, a savoury character and firm structure, Nebbiolo makes us weak at the knees. It transcends the senses evoking overwhelming emotions. Besides Nebbiolo, Piedmont’s other grapes such as Freisa, Dolcetto and Barbera have their own unique charms and shouldn’t be ignored. Each style has a specific food match, but meat and pasta prevail. This is not the place for vegetarians. From wild boar, rabbit and carne cruda (a raw beef delicacy) to tajarin (a thin, egg-rich noodle deep yellow in colour) and plin (mini ravioli), we happily surrendered to the Piedmont’s food infatuation. Our craving for fish was the only thing that could drag us away. Abruzzo Off the beaten track, the central eastern region of Abruzzo meets the shimmering blue Adriatic Sea. It provides a seafood feast for Italian sun seekers. To the west, the Apennines tower above this rugged area. In the short distance between the mountains and ocean lie random and less orderly vineyards. Abruzzo is all about cheap and cheerful wines to wash down the fresh fish. Both our livers and our wallets were relieved. While Abruzzo will never reach the heights of Piedmont, the region is seriously committed to breaking free from its reputation as a producer of bulk wine. Many wineries have invested heavily in state-of-theart equipment and new oak barrels. Now, further attention is required in the vineyard if they truly wish to produce top quality wine. Montepulciano is Abruzzo’s flagship variety, and producers have pinned their hopes on this red. Quality and style vary enormously. At its best, Montepulciano is deeply coloured and exuberant with generous fruit and just enough of the rusticity polished away. Successful efforts include well-established Illuminati and exciting newcomer Ciavolich. Our most encouraging discovery in Abruzzo came while sitting in a seaside restaurant. We were offered some Pecorino with our sardines and fully expected a side dish of cheese. Instead, the sommelier presented us with a very interesting white wine. Once a local favourite, Pecorino lost popularity to the much more productive and easier- to-grow Trebbiano grape. Luckily, some producers are reviving Pecorino. Intense and fleshy yet light on its feet, it has appealing flavours of preserved lemon. It was mouthwatering with the vinaigrette-dressed sardines. Friuli Pecorino is just one example of how fantastic Italian white wines can be. Each province produces a variety of whites, but they are often overlooked. The northeastern region of Friuli has built its reputation on whites, especially local grape variety Tocai Friulano. This lesser-known gem produces distinct luscious whites, robust enough to stand up to rich dishes. In southern Italy, the province of Campania boasts some of Italy’s best-kept secrets. Indigenous grapes Greco and Fiano fashion truly unique wines. Dry, vibrant and slightly aromatic, their subtle almond notes would complement sablefish, sole meunière and Dungeness crab perfectly. The wines from Feudo di San Gregorio are a must-try. Sicily and Puglia If you prefer rich, full-bodied reds, Sicily and Puglia are great regions to explore. The wines won’t be carbon copies of Shiraz or Zinfandel, but they do possess similar richness and ripeness. Nero d’Avola is Sicily’s darling. This red grape produces deep, full-bodied wines with a backbone of balancing acidity. An ideal remedy for a cold rainy night. Ceuso Scurati Nero d’Avola is one of our top picks. When making the leap to Italy, Primitivo is another friendly choice. It is grown in the southern Italian region of Puglia. Closer to a

California Zinfandel in style, Primitivo is rich and toothsome with pruny flavours and usually clocks in at 14+ percent alcohol. The Tormaresca â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Torcicodaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; is a classic example. Tuscany For those who seek a more restrained and elegant style of wine, acquaint yourselves with Sangiovese. This grape reaches its apogee in Tuscany, and Sangioveseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most famous guise is Chianti. Those thin, insipid wines of yesteryear tarnished Chiantiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s reputation, which is unfortunate. The region produces plenty of top-notch wine, and a fantastic Chianti is a musttry. Some of our favourites include Coltibuono and Isole e Olena. For the ultimate Sangiovese experience, treat yourself to a Brunello di Montalcino. Montalcino is a region slightly south of Chianti producing long-lived, complex wines. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll set you back at least $60 and will require a few years in the cellar before revealing all of their nuances. Altesino and Talentiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Brunellos shouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be missed. While Italian wines are incredibly diverse, the one thing they have in common is their vivacious acidity. They are best enjoyed with food, and with a stunning match, Italian wines actually sing. This is why we are so hooked on Italian wines. Forget the checkered tablecloth; you can bring bella Italia to your home by simply picking up a bottle at your local wine store. Your adventures will be endless. When you take your first sip, close your eyes. You will see the Mediterranean, olive groves or Saint Peterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Basilica lit up at night, and, if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re lucky, you may even hear Paolo Conte serenading you.

Ta s t i n g



N ot e s

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â&#x20AC;˘ Featured at the Vancouver International Playhouse Wine Festival Whites 2006 Solo Frascati, Frascati Superiore DOC, $14.86 CSPC #180166 Simple and cheerful, Soloâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Frascati brings us right back to Rome. Mouth-watering flavours of apple blossom and lime peel. 2005 Belisario, Vigneti del Cerro, Verdicchio di Matelica DOC, $17.83 #64675 Good Verdicchio is difficult to find in this market but we were blown away by Belisario. Thirst quenching with vivacious citrus aromas. Great as an aperitif or with delicate white fish. 2006 Michele Chiarlo, Gavi DOCG, $26.75 #372359 Enticing apple peel and chamomile notes with a slight fizz making the wine super-refreshing. Complex and complete. 2006 La Tunella, Biancosesto, Colli Orientali del Friuli DOC, $27.00 #294454 A blend of Tocai Friulano and Ribolla Gialla, two of Friuliâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s indigenous grapes. Rose petal, ripe pear aromas and the viscosity are reminiscent of Pinot Gris from Alsace. Vibrant with tons of personality. â&#x20AC;˘2006 Dei Feudi Di San Gregorio, Falanghina DOC, $27.74 #634907 Very aromatic nose of peach, apricot and white flowers. Rich and creamy balanced by a pleasant bitter orange peel finish. A dream with sable fish. 2006 Mastroberardino, Greco di Tufo DOCG, $28.74 #238204 This is textbook Greco di Tufo. Intriguing almond notes on the nose repeat on the palate. Refreshing, slightly salty and tangy with green apple flavours. Its creamy texture is ideal for Japanese food or fresh white fish drizzle with olive oil and lemon. Reds 2005 Paiara, Puglia IGT, $9.89 #378182 The best value weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve found in a long time. Full of character, this Negroamaro/Cabernet Sauvignon blend is the ideal everyday drinking wine. Definitely over-delivers. â&#x20AC;˘2005 Tormaresca, Nèprica, Puglia IGT, $13.83 #612036 Robust and a bit rustic, this full-bodied wine is packed with personality, especially for the money. Pleasant roasted herbs notes make Nèprica the perfect match with lamb and grilled sausages. 2003 Brecciarolo, Rosso Piceno Superiore DOC, $16.84 #98319 A crowd pleaser! Rich and plump, Brecciarolo is the perfect Friday night sipping wine. A nice intro to Italy if this is your first encounter. Once again, fantastic value!!! 2004 Fattoria di Basciano, Chianti Rufina DOCG, $17.73 #499053 The ideal wine to rekindle your romance with Chianti. Juicy and thirst quenching, it is a classic example of Chianti from the Rufina district. Bright savoury cherry and cinnamon notes with pronounced mineral flavours. Fantastic value; bring on the pasta. â&#x20AC;˘2004 Pasqua, Sagramoso, Valpolicella Superiore DOC Ripasso, $21.80 #602342 Surprisingly light on its feet, the Pasqua is consumer and food friendly. Delightful. 2006 Ceuso, Scurati, Sicilia IGT, $23.68 #183319 A long time favourite, Ceuso is a classic example of Sicilyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rising star; Nero dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Avola. Full with pronounced savoury prune and blackberry notes and polished tannin. Screaming for red meat. â&#x20AC;˘2003 Di Majo Norante, Contado, Aglianico del Molise DOC, $23.78 #535732 Robust and tannic, you will be pleased with yourself if you cellar this wine for a few years. If you canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t wait, the dried herbs, tar and black licorice flavours will be tasty with a flat iron steak. 2005 Fontanarosa, Portogreco, Basilicata IGT, $24.74 #823666 A blend of Aglianico, Sangiovese and Merlot. Full-bodied and firm with dark fruit and salted licorice flavours underlined by a stoniness. Complex yet reserved and elegant. One of our favourite new discoveries. â&#x20AC;˘2004 Tormaresca â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Torcicodaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Primitivo, Salento IGT Puglia, $24.77 #149195 A great example of a Primitivo from Puglia. Rich and supple with succulent flavours of fig, dates and bramble pie. Best enjoyed with ribs or steak. 2005 Rive, Il Cascinone, Barbera dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Asti DOC, $29.99 716118 Very pleasing with juicy ripe flavours of cherry and coffee. A modern Barbera that retains its Piemontese character. Try with cured meat before dinner. 2003 Produttori del Barbaresco, Barbaresco DOCG, $42.45 #289512 One of our favourite producers in Barbaresco, Produttori del Barbaresco always offers exceptional value for money. Expressive with haunting aromas of dry roses, tar and orange peel. If you want to splurge try their cru vineyards: Ovello, Asili and RabajĂ . 2001 Fabiano, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;I Fondatoriâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOC, $65.32 #153023 Elegant and refreshing despite its richness. A tasty treat with tomato based pasta or hard aged Italian cheeses.



Strong, concentrated, with sweet and balanced tannins on the palate. Very long finish with very important organoleptic and poliphenolic aspects, which will ensure to this wine an extraordinary longevity.


  ! $ % &$ &    '(      Grange displays fully-ripe and intenselyflavoured Shiraz and some Cabernet grapes in combination with new American oak. The result is a unique Australian style that is now recognised as one of the most consistent of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s great wines.

    )! *++,  !!"      

Rich black berry and leather. Sage and spice on the palate. Well integrated French oak. Will age 8-12 years or drink now.

One of BC`s Top Reds!

Open 7 Days a Week 9am to 11pm Phone (250) 391-4458 498 Island Highway Beside The 6 Mile Pub

Just South of the Casino MARCH | APRIL 2008



by Larry Arnold “…intense cherry, black pepper and spice flavours, a hedonistic texture and a finish that grinds on”

Whites Stormy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 06 South Africa $12.00-14.00 After tasting several dozen sauvignon blancs from around the world, I came away thinking that for the money, this zippy little gem from the cradle of civilization is all a man might want when the occasion just doesn’t seem to merit a bottle of Cloudy Bay! With a slash of zesty acidity and a mouthful of fresh citrus-peach flavours, this easy drinking white punches well above its humble price point. Golan Heights Yarden Muscat 05 Israel $26.00-28.00 If this lovely sweet Muscat is any indication of the overall quality of the plethora of Israelis wines new to the BC market, things are looking up. Intensely grapey and very sweet but not cloying, with a cut of refreshing acidity and a long rich finish that just keeps going! Kosher and proud of it. Ngatarawa Silks Sauvignon Blanc 06 New Zealand $24.00-27.00 Powerful yet refreshing, with ripe pear, gooseberry and grapefruit flavours, some weight on the palate and an ample squeeze of mouthwatering acidity to put it all in perspective. More please.

Reds Stormy Bay Cabernet Sauvignon 06 South Africa $12.00-14.00 Dense, dark and definitely new world in style. This lushly textured cab from the plains of Africa has explosive fruit flavours yet remains surprisingly well balanced. Round and smooth with bright boysenberry, black currant and mint flavours and a soft but persistent finish. Pretty good drinking for the buck. Roux Pere & Fils Saint-Aubin 1er Cru “Les Cortons” 05 $50.00-55.00 The tiny village of Saint-Aubin is located in Burgundy’s famed Cote de Beaune. Although the appellation has never been considered in the same league as some of its more illustrious neighbours, Saint-Aubin is an appellation worth seeking for the relative value of its reds and whites. Very pale in colour with lovely peach, pear and brioche aromas, refined fruit and mineral flavours, nicely balanced with a soft, creamy texture and a long supple finish. Elegant indeed. Ngatarawa Silks Syrah 06 New Zealand $24.00-27.00 Pronounced Naa-Taa-Ra-Wa, by the locals before and after every rugby game, this amply endowed Syrah came as a bit of a surprise when first sampled. Coming from cool-climate New Zealand, I just did not expect this wine to be as big as it has turned out to be. But there you go, what do I know? Lush and round with sweet plum, white pepper and spice scents, rich berry flavours and a long fleshy finish. Ngatarawa. Estampa Malbec-Petite Sirah 06 Chile $14.00-16.00 The Estampa winery and vineyards are located on prime real estate in the heart of the Colchagua Valley in central Chile. The company philosophy is based around the sanctity of the blend; they make no single varietal wines at all. Seems kind of limiting but it is their ball and so far the results have proven pretty tasty! Medium to full-bodied with intense berry, spice and espresso flavours nicely balanced with a rasp of edgy tannins.



Casa Santos Lima Quinta da Espiga 05 Portugal $13.00-15.00 Sometimes a good cheap red is all you need and if complexity is not high on the agenda then look no further; this tasty little slurp from sunny Portugal delivers the goods. Medium-bodied with fresh raspberry and cherry flavours, some spicy oak notes and a blush of fine-grained tannins that on the palate. Wirra Wirra Church Block 05 Australia $25.00-28.00 This blockbuster from Mclaren Vale is a shameless blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (47%), Shiraz (35%) and Merlot (18%) but as many Aussies are wont to do, puts out more than the sum of its parts. Concentrated but firm with intense cherry, black pepper and spice flavours, a hedonistic texture and a finish that grinds on. You’ll be back. Ironstone Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2001 California $19.95 There is nothing subtle about this wine. It is a full-figured, in your face, take no prisoners fruit bomb that leaves nothing to the imagination. Just the way we like it! Delicious and alluring with a certain earthy fecundity that some might find forward but is attractive nonetheless La Buxynoise Mercurey Rouge 1er Cru 05 France $35.00-40.00 Medium-bodied with ripe cherry, spice and wet earth aromas, a silky texture, ripe berry flavours and a long supple finish. This elegant little pinot could use a couple more years in the bottle to really show its stuff, but regardless, is damn fine drinking right now. When only Burgundy will do, look no further. Bertani Valpolicella Valpantena “Secco Bertani” Ripasso 04 Italy $20.00-23.00 Secco Bertani occupies an interesting point on the wine continuum. It is not a fruity little Valpolicella best quaffed in great draughts with friends and pizza, nor does it have the baronial stature of a mature Amarone, meant to be sipped and contemplated, on its own or with a wedge of good hard cheese. No my friends, this brawny ripasso wine offers the best of both styles. It is bone dry with a nose reminiscent of dried cherries, minerals and spice. Medium-bodied with noticeable acidity, ample fruit flavours and a patina of dusty tannins. Open it early and give it a couple of hours in the decanter for best results.

The Finisher Vincent Van Gogh Double Espresso Vodka Holland $47.00-50.00 Van Gogh Double Espresso Vodka is the only spirit on the market with added caffeine. Tastes like a double espresso hold the vodka, but, a small word of warning, after a couple of stiff ones you may not know whether you are coming or going. . Deceptively smooth, with rich coffee flavours that explode on the palate and absolutely no indication of the spirit that hides within. Consider yourself warned!




by Christopher Pollon

Adventures In BC Beer Tasting: Hay, Grapefruit and Cookie Dough in Your Glass


hen I decided to host my first beer tasting party on a rainy night in January, there was only one rule at the door: no beer snobs. On the other hand, beer-drinking slobs were permitted, provided they bring an open-minded passion for beer in its infinite stylistic possibility. This was my first attempt at hosting a beer tasting, so I kept it intimate: two of my beer loving compatriots (actually not beer slobs at all) agreed to come. Dan is an accomplished home brewer with vast technical knowledge of all things beer; Jeffery, a salmon biologist who shares my love of British ales, brings the quiet focus and intensity of a scientist to his beer fixation. And then there was me, whose technical beer knowledge is dwarfed by my curiosity, which is the beauty of beer – it’s not so much what you know, all you have to do is care. Our beer tasting strategy was to systematically taste and analyse a selection of BC craft brews in order of mildest to strongest. I ordered the beers somewhat simplistically from least to most hoppy—because I’m a hophead and it was my party. Our beer picks came from all over BC, in the following order of tasting: Bunny’s ‘Black and Tan’ Ale from Nanaimo’s Fat Cat brewery; Tree Brewing’s Spy Porter from Kelowna; Tall Timber Brown Ale from Mount Begbie Brewing in Revelstoke; Black Widow Dark Ale from Tin Whistle in Penticton; Vancouver-brewed R&B Hopgoblin IPA; and Amnesiac IPA from Phillips Brewing in Victoria. To guide our tasting, we downloaded free tasting sheets from, which list the main categories to be considered, including appearance, aroma, palate, and flavour. Under each of these headings are listed subheadings and adjectives to help describe the beer. For example, a drinker tasting a beer can look under the aroma subheading “hops” and select from the following: flowers, perfume, herbs, celery, grass, pine, spruce, resin, citrus, grapefruit and so on. It takes time and intense concentration to evaluate the subtlety of the beers, especially if you are a novice. The malt aroma from the Black and Tan that I attributed to chocolate, Dan thought was more like cookie dough. Dan and I agreed that the Spy Porter had a toasted malt aroma, but for the life of me I could not detect the hint of “hay” or slight “resin” hoppiness. Jeffery was sure that the Black Widow Dark Ale was imparting aromas of plum and blackberry, although all I could detect was molasses. Four hours later we were still at it, although quite frankly, my taste buds were losing sensitivity. I was already reverting to the beer slob of the past, pondering eating a bag of chips on the couch. But my friends were still there, and a single large bottle of Phillips Amnesiac IPA loomed large in the fridge. We saved the hoppiest and strongest beer for last, and in the end it was rated the highest by all three of us. Amnesiac is a beer that is so hop caustic, it is likely unpalatable to the majority of beer drinkers. Dan placed his nose over the copper-hued ale and inhaled, his eyes instantly watering. “It has an aroma I can feel in my eyes,” he laughed. Dan launched into a tirade about excessively hoppy beer causing short term memory loss, a property he said gave this beer its name. (I made a mental note to call brewmaster Matt Phillips to confirm, but forgot.) Compared to R&B’s Hopgoblin IPA, the hop aroma and kick was completely different. Jeffery picked up more of a resiny pine in the Phillips, while Dan classified it simply as “heavy and harsh.” Our assessments of this and the rest were quite different, although we did ultimately agree on the two top beers: Phillips Amnesiac, followed by Kelowna-brewed Spy Porter. After five hours of tasting, my friends finally went home and I reclined on the couch in front of the TV, incoherently channel surfing with a bag of chips like any other beer slob at the end of a long Friday night of drinking.



Treve Ring

a look back at recent wine events

Hugh Hamilton Winery Dinner at The Mark February 11, 2008


ivacious Aussie, and 6th Generation winemaker Mary Hamilton, led the cozy group amassed in The Mark though a tasting of her family’s wines. Though the names of Hugh Hamilton Wines may sound frivolous, (The Loose Cannon, Jim Jim and Mongrel were in attendance), the wines themselves were anything but. Situated in the heart of McLaren Vale, the wines were more in line with the Old World than Oz fruit bombs typically seen in this price range ($22-$40). The Loose Canyon Viognier echoed Condrieu’s earthy minerality, and was a bang-on match to Executive Chef Rick Choy’s pairing – specially jetted-in Barramundi, steamed with lemongrass and kaffir. And the Jekyll & Hyde Shiraz-Viognier blend was in perfect focus with the grilled lamb rack, beluga lentils and – most clearly – cocoa bean jus. Throughout, Mary was very engaging, sharing the stories of how her father Hugh (The Black Sheep of the family), arrived at these offbeat and endearing wines. The honed kitchen team and polished service crew gets stronger with each dinner in the wine series – the miniature, perfectly carved Roasted Fraser Valley Rabbit Rack elicited applause from the appreciative crowd. Watch for future dinners to be announced and book early – the room only hold a select (and lucky) few diners.

Hugh Hamilton Wines Limited availability in vancouver and victoria — available in select stores The Mark, Hotel Grand Pacific, 463 Belleville St., Victoria, BC, 250.380.4487, MARCH | APRIL 2008


Chefs Talk

— Compiled by Ceara Lornie

Hassle-free suggestions for a sit down dinner for six WHISTLER James Walt | Araxi | 604.932.4540 Tons of fun and less hassle than fondue is a raclette. Think steamed Pemberton butter potatoes, thick slices of your favourite charcuterie, crusty bread and melted raclette cheese (Qualicum Cheeseworks makes a nice one). Serve with gherkins, pickled on-ions and a crisp green salad. For dessert, poach pears in advance with red wine or spiced rum, accompanied by vanilla ice cream drizzled with golden syrup and topped with a biscuit.

VICTORIA David Feys | Feys and Hobbs | 250.380.0390 That's so easy! Call Feys+Hobbs and have us organize a menu that you feel confident to reheat—from soup to nuts we've got your back! You'll look like a star and you'll have a stress free experience. Hey, we can even send someone to heat/serve/clean up! Now that's hassle-free! It's the way to go. Peter Heptonstall | Restaurant Matisse | 250.480-0883 One Bourbon…one Scotch…one beer, with perhaps a herring. Jeff Keenliside | The Marina Restaurant | 250.598.8555 If you ask my wife she would say I'm not much for hasslefree as I spend all day in the kitchen and part of the night when we have people over. So I would look to her on this. She would build lasagna the day before (and put one in the freezer) and serve it with caesar salad. Micki always makes a mean fruit crumble at a moment’s notice and that makes for two one-pan courses. Nice. Buy a baguette from your favourite bakery and enjoy your company and the wine! Corey Korenicki | Wren Restaurant | 250.598.9736 I would suggest a theme oriented event, keeping it interesting and fun. Converse with your “party” and involve them, everyone has a secret favorite. Small bites, simple dishes, with room for introducing new experiences, and ingredients. Beverages also welcome the option of conversation, and consumption. It’s always exciting to take a plunge, and try something new. Education can be appetizing. And don’t forget the cheese course. Corey Jessup | Vic’s Steakhouse and Bar | 250.480.6586 One thing I love is one-pot dinners, when you want to spend time with company and not a lot in the kitchen. One item that I suggest for a party of six that is hassle-free would be a venison cassoulet. You can buy your venison shanks from a local butcher, sear them off in a large round pot (rondo), add your vegetables, potatoes and stock and put them in the oven to braise for a couple of hours. Next thing you know you have a warm winter dinner on those cold winter nights. Chris Cameron | Brentwood Bay Lodge | 250.544.2079 Anytime I'm doing a dinner party I like to challenge myself and use ingredients unfamiliar to my guests. Kumumoto oysters in an oyster jelly, cave aged Gruyère souffle, quail eggs, warm terrine of wild hare, foie gras, squid ink brioche, poached Eastern Malaysia lobster, truffle foam and Sevruga caviar, turducken, brunoise of celeriac, carrot, squash, fennel, celery, beets, daikon, gailan, bok choy, truffle, corn, green peas, 78% chocolate souffle, Lombok coffee trilogy and blackberry segments Aaron Lawrence | Wild Saffron Bistro | 250.361.3310 Having spent five years working and training in Switzerland I have brought back many dishes and recipes from different European regions. I feature many of them in my restaurant at the wild Saffron Bistro and one that I feel works well for hassle-free dinner parties is the traditional Swiss fondue with a few trays of savoury snacks. Many people that I know have a fondue set gathering dust in a cupboard or basement. Shawn Morrison | Verjus Restaurant | 250.595.1112 One large roasting chicken, four medium potatoes, six shallots, two carrots, one celery stalk, two good bottles of Riesling. Download a recipe by Julia Child's for the perfect roast chicken dinner. People will think you prepped it for hours when it really only took half an hour and you only used one pan. Start with a simple salad and finish with homemade ice cream sandwiches. Simple, elegant, easy and delicious. Scot Tremblay | Blue Crab Bar and Grill |250.480.1999 As I write this a light snow is falling in Victoria, I have my fireplace stoked, CBC radio is playing some of my favorite



Iberian composers and my mind drifts back to the wonderful days I spent traveling the Picos de Europa in northern Spain. I have invited four good friends for dinner, seasoned up my prized cast iron cookware and set the table "serve yourself" family style. My wife and I will be serving an asparagus, watercress, orange segment and Stilton cheese salad with a simple dressing of extra virgin olive oil and white balsamic vinegar; oxtail, double braised with Torres Sangre de Toros, garlic and roma tomato; roasted winter vegetables with plenty of fresh oregano, smoked sea salt and cracked pepper, accompanied with crusty farmhouse bread and sufficiently satisfying amounts of Catalan's finest export. For dessert, sour apple and dried cranberry cobbler with caramelized double cream. Garrett Schack | Vista 18 | 250.382.9258 Is there really such a thing as a hassle-free sit down dinner? Short of dialing 310-1010 and throwing some napkins on the table, your best bet is to keep it simple. Start with a seasonal soup, cold in the summer like watermelon soup with feta and mint, or potato leek with crispy bacon for those frosty winter evenings. As for a middle course, one-pot-wonders are a sure bet. Oven-roasted duck legs or braised short ribs are great for indi-vidual portions and easy serving. Last but not least dessert, again think of the seasons, fresh berries with dulce de leche whipped cream as a summer cool down or rice pud-ding with toasted hazelnuts and fresh grated cinnamon to keep the chill away. The most important thing is to keep a full glass and your fingers tucked in. Ben Peterson | Heron Rock Bistro | 250.383.1545 A big pot of onion soup on the stovetop, with fresh-fromthe-oven melted Gruyère on toast to garnish, a beautifully caramelized rib roast with root vegetables and potato to catch the drippings, and a little left over Merlot to make a pan jus. To finish, fruit crumble done in a big casserole with plenty of vanilla ice cream to spread around. Meals like this, with few ingredients and a real sense of comfort are what my family, friends and I like to cook together when we celebrate. They're simple to prepare ahead and require minimal hassle at service time, allowing everyone to sit and enjoy! Dave Cartner | Laurel Point Inn | 250.386.8721 I think that there is nothing better than a savoury fondue. With good company and a leisurely pace this turns food into an evening of entertainment. The best thing about eating this way is you can use anything that you have on hand and cater to the needs of your guests.

VANCOUVER Jean-Christophe Poirier | Chow restaurant | 604.608.2469 In the winter time, I like to braise meat slowly in the oven so when my guests arrive the apartment is full of wonderful aromas. My suggestion to you is lamb shanks braised in a tomato sauce with root vegetable such as carrots, parsnips and celeriac. Forget about it for three hours while it's cooking in your oven and at the end add a cup of couscous. Serve it with a side of spicy sauce, bread and yogurt full of cilantro and mint. Kim Thai | Fleuri Restaurant | 604.642.2900 As much as I like to cook, I like to play host just as much, so when I entertain at home, simple is always best. When I want to keep it simple, I like to go with some fresh sea-food. Start with six pieces of (3/4 inch) seabass steak. Drizzle olive oil into a roasting pan and season with salt. Toss in one small diced onion, fresh grated ginger and a chopped garlic clove. Then pour sake over the seabass, cover it all with aluminum foil and the place it in a pre-heated over at 400 F for 10 minutes. Easy and simple, Sake Seabass! Chris Whittaker | O'Doul's Restaurant and Bar | 604.661.1407 My suggestion for a hassle-free dinner for six would be to do a Chinese hot pot. Make a flavourful broth, head down to the Chinese market and buy fresh seafood, sliced meats, dumplings, leafy vegetables, etc. and sit back while everyone cooks for themselves. Jeremie Bastien | Boneta | 604.684.1844 Paté rillette from Oyama Sausage Co., cheese from Les Amis (favorites: Baskeriu - a firm sheep's milk, Chèvre Noir - a goat cheddar from Quebec and Ciel de Charlevoix - my favorite blue). Round it out with cornichons, fresh baguettes and St. Ambroise grainy mustard. For mains, I'd serve ovenroasted Black Angus prime rib with Maldon salt and fresh cracked black pepper with fingerling potatoes, arugula

salad with balsamic and Parmiggiano Reggiano. Don't forget the Bernaise sauce. Dessert would be strawberries or seasonal fruits tossed with vin cotto (grape must is available at La Grotta on Commercial Drive) served over slightly softened vanilla ice cream. Julian Bond | Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts | 604.734.4488 My dinner for six would involve a little preparation but a hassle-free service. Camembert macerated with Stoneboat Pinot Noir with fresh figs and prosciutto.; Dungeness crab salad with a simple lemon thyme vinaigrette (crab tossed in hand cut salad leaves, dressing made with grape seed oil); braised lamb neck shepherds pie (this is a classic that is often confused and made with beef when is should be made with lamb. The lamb neck (in my opinion the best cut) should be slow braised); and sour cherry pudding with lemon scented clotted cream François Gagnon | CinCin | 604.688.7338 Fire up the barbecue for a few racks of slowly roasted pork and your favourite grilled seasonal vegetables. Polenta is a delicious hassle-free accompaniment that you can prepare in advance and fry right before you’re ready to plate. Serve with a fresh herb and green salad tossed with pine nuts and a light vinaigrette. To finish, an Earl Grey pannacotta is simple to make with only a few ingredients and is delicious with caramel-ized walnuts and warmed organic honey. Greg Armstrong | Habit Lounge | 604.877.8585 Hassle-free, eh? I'd lay out a spread of cured meats, sausage, cheese, olives, marinated vegetables with some baguette with plenty of cocktails. For the main course I would do a baked pasta that you can fully prepare the day before then just throw in the oven when needed. Something like Mezzani with Chorizo, tomato, garlic, eggplant, red peppers, smoked paprika and topped and baked with goat feta. Serve the pasta with a simple green salad and some garlic bread. For dessert more cocktails. Travis Williams | The Cascade Room | 604.709.8650 For a hassle-free sit down dinner for six, as much advanced preparation as possible is key so you can maximize your time with your guests, and minimize your time in the kitchen. I would prepare an antipasti platter of sliced meats, cheese and olives for all to enjoy before dinner. For a main course, whole roasted free range chicken with lemon, rosemary and olive oil, a big pan of roasted baby potatoes and a green salad with a simple vinaigrette. Of course, a nice bottle of dry white wine, and an assortment of fresh cut fruit for dessert. Peter Roberston | Rain City Grill | 604.685.7337 I guess for me the highlight of having mates around for dinner, is probably the lead up. For starters it will inevitably take place on a Sunday, because it's the only day my wife and I have off together so we will try to make the most of it. Depending on the time of year, we might take the dog out hunting for mushrooms to go with a roast chicken, or head down to fishermen's wharf to grab a bunch of crabs for Singapore chili crab that we can all dig into with a few cold beers. I find that if we have had a good day shopping or hunting then the execution of the meal tends to be pretty seamless and it adds to the occasion. On top of that, taking the time to get to know your local produce builds a greater respect for it.

THE ISLAND Tim Cuff | The Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn 250.725.3100 Go to the butcher, order a suckling pig, and throw it on the BBQ. Spit roast it basting it with beer and herbs. Once it is finished serve it with buttered baby potatoes, scallions rustic salads and whole loaves of bread. You could probably throw on a platter of cheeses with fig jam on the table as well. Margot Bodchon | Calm Waters Restaurant at the Tin Wis Resort Lodge 250.725.4447 I feel that food brought forth from a First Nations traditional atmosphere of honour, kindness, and welcome helps to ensure a truly transcendent food experience for the guest. I try and incorporate the same practice when having guests to my home and an example of a stress-free winter meal for me and my friends would include BBQ lamb brochettes with spicy pear chutney which is one of my all time favourites. Kleco, Kleco.


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250 388 4255

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University Heights Liquor Store 250-382-2814 4-3960 Shelbourne St

(in University Heights Mall)

Tuscany Liquor Store 250-384-WINE (9463) 101-1660 McKenzie Ave (in Tuscany Village)

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Central Park Liquor Store 250-763-2600 300-1500 Banks Rd

(in the Cultural District) (in Central Park Shopping Centre)

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EAT Magazine | Issue 12-02  
EAT Magazine | Issue 12-02  

Celebrating the Food & Wine of British Columbia