This is your indispensable companion to all that is hot, fresh and freaking delicious in Vancouver right now
First off, before I say anything, major props to Eat! Vancouver for responding so positively and swiftly to last month’s accusations of their dining series being something of a sausage fest (and not the good kind, either). They’ve added a collaboration dinner between Shelome Bouvette (Chicha) and Isabel Chung (Fairmont Chateau Whistler) at Chicha on November 9th, and added Top Chef winner Nicole Gomes to the roster of chefs at the Eat Harvest event on the 10th. (Just one tiny suggestion: maybe next time go crazy and not pair two women together?)
Anyway, it’s August, so go spend every possible waking second on a patio sucking up all the great and gorgeous things that are being harvested from the sea and the land right now—all of our beautiful B.C. fruits, berries, veggies and seafood!
Grab picnic napkins ‘cause guess what? It’s gonna get messy...
1. Booze news!
Hats off all round to friends-of-the-column, Summerhill Pyramid Winery for scoring a perfect 100 and a double gold medal for their 2013 Small Lot Semillion Icewine from the San Francisco International Wine Competition—which Summerhill C.E.O Ezra Cipes tells me is the first time a Canadian wine ‘has ever gotten a 100-point score from an international competition or from an international critic.’ In a press release, Summerhill founder and proprietor Stephen Cipes said: "Summerhill Pyramid Organic Winery and Bistro in Kelowna British Columbia has been honoured with perhaps the two most significant awards in the wine industry worldwide, proving once again that organic is the way to be!" All of Summerhill wines are cellared in a precision geometry pyramid and lovingly made in the certified organic cellar by co-founder Eric von Krosigk and his amazingly talented and dedicated team."
Argentinian wines are back! There are specials in BC Liquor Stores throughout August and you can try them at special tasting events featuring authentic empanadas from Panaderia Latina Bakery at the 39th and Cambie Signature BCLS on Thursday, August 10, 2:30 to 6:30 p.m., and at Park Royal Signature BCLS on Thursday, August 17, 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. I’m obsessed with how insanely delicious the Finca Las Moras Reserva Tannat (2015) is. My notes say: imagine inhaling a grandpa tobacco-y jacket on a walk through blueberry bushes—perfect with goat cheese. WoA is also running a very cool contest online to stay in Whistler at the Fairmont Chateau over Cornucopia, with tickets to the Wines of Argentina seminar. Enter here.
Also a big hurrah to friends-of-the-column over in Victoria, as cocktail legend Shawn Soole (ex-Clive’s/Little Jumbo co-founder, Café Mexico), is pairing up with Shane Clark and Jill Tulloch of Clarke & Co. to launch a new cocktail bar this month, Foxtrot Tango Whisky (but I still think it should be WTF, not FTW!) at 721 Humboldt Street in the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel. I cannot wait to have Shawn make me a drink again soon, and it looks like cocktail fans now have one more good reason to head to Victoria for a visit.
2. Eat all the B.C. blueberries
They’re here! They’re blue! And they’re delicious! Get your fill of B.C. blueberries right now at...
Giovane at the Fairmont Pacific Rim has a frankly illegal-looking BC Blueberry Mojito sugar bun (pictured).
Burdock & Co. is serving fresh blueberries with butter almond yogurt and almond meringue.
Caffe Artigiano is whipping up house-made Italian sodas with B.C. blueberries, and a new fruit salad with fresh local blueberries.
Bel Café has a B.C. blueberry and quark-cheese tart.
Earnest Ice Cream has a B.C. blueberry and house-made lemon cheesecake ice cream on sale right now.
Thomas Haas is throwing a blueberry bonanza with a B.C. blueberry lemon tart with vanilla marshmallow, a B.C. blueberry verrine, B.C. blueberry galette and B.C. blueberry tart.
3. Good cause alert!
If you’ve ever had a drink at Chambar, L’Abattoir or Juniper, then you’ve probably been served by local bartender and all-round nice guy José Rafael Borges. On July 11th, Borges was attacked in Gastown and left unconscious. He regained consciousness the next day in hospital after receiving reconstructive surgery. His injuries from this brutal assault include the loss of four teeth, a broken nose, broken maxilla, neck injuries and severe concussion. If you can help out with Jose’s fundraiser to get dental work (which basic MSP doesn’t cover), then please consider donating.
4. Cool stuff to do!
Charlotte LangleyI’ve already got my ticket for this as A) it looks awesome, and B) it features the mad skillz of my new favourite chef/person Charlotte Langley (pictured) along with a host of other talented fish cookers, including Rob Clark from the Fish Counter and Derek Dammann from Montreal’s Maison Publique. What is it? The Wild Salmon Celebration, a water-side outdoor dining event from The Chefs' Table Society of British Columbia and the BC Salmon Marketing Council at Fishermen’s Wharf on Saturday, August 26 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets are $49 (plus fees) and include lashings of wild B.C. salmon and salmon-safe wine samples set to the sound of the Don Hardy Blues' Quartet.
The Chef Meets B.C. Grape event in Vancouver was terrific, so it’s exciting to see them launch an Okanagan one this month for four days of food, wine, celeb chefs and fun culminating in a grand Taste of the Okanagan event, featuring over 150 BC VQA Wines. The stand-out event for me is the First Nations Elements Dinner at Nk'Mip Cellars, North America's first Aboriginal-owned and -operated winery featuring: "winemaker Justin Hall, Chief Clarence Louie of the Osoyoos Indian Band, and culinary creations from top chefs Enoch Cree Chef Shane Chartrand, Chef Matthias Fong and Nk'Mip Cellars Chef Orlin Godfrey, for a four-course BC VQA Wine-paired dinner which will celebrate the rich culture and heritage of Indigenous Peoples." Find out more about the events and bag a ticket now.
5. Give in to frosé
I’ve tried to fight it, but what’s the point? Frosé is ridiculous but it’s also delicious and just the thing for hot summer afternoons when you want to drink grown-up slushies. Cactus Club has one laced with vodka, but if if you’re looking for ‘refreshing, kinda boozy but don’t wanna get faced,’ Road 13 Winery may have just the thing. They’ve put in a trademark on the name "frosé" in Canada and have this recipe so you can make a blender full of it at home, or you can grab a glass at their tasting room in Oliver.
Road 13 Frosé Recipe
- 2/3 cup cranberry pomegranate juice
- 3/4 cup grenadine
- 2 cups Honest John's Rosé
¼ tsp to ⅛ tsp tartaric acid
Fill with ice and blend.
6. Say “hi” to all the new places
DosankoEx-Campagnolo chef Nathan Lowey and Akiyo Lowey (ex-Tojo kitchen manager) have opened Dosanko at 566 Powell Street specialising in yōshoku (a Japanese home-style cuisine which uses Western cooking concepts and techniques). The couple is fundraising on Indiegogo so they can buy “high-end Japanese whiskeys, natural wines, beautiful sake and give us a healthy cash flow to start our business.” There are some excellent rewards on offer, so invest now and go see them to say welcome to Japantown.
Because there’s never enough ice cream in the world, La Glace is opening on on Friday, August 4 at West 16th Avenue and Macdonald for sorbet, dairy and vegan ice cream in cups and cones, as well as parfaits topped with seasonal local fruit and house-made marshmallows and meringues. Open Wednesday through Sunday from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Featuring a gorgeous interior with stunning tiles, hello and welcome to the Banter Room in Yaletown who have taken over the old Romer’s burgers spot on Mainland. Open for lunch, dinner and drinks with what seems to be a pretty cool menu with treats such as Green Goddess Grilled Cheese, Lobster-Avocado Toast and Smoked Tuna Carpaccio.
7. Eat all the cherries
I usually spend most of August with my lips stained with cherry juice, 'cause those Okanagan cherries are wildly addictive and I have zero self-control when it comes to gobbling them down. These folks have more restraint and have actually managed to, y’know, make something with 'em. Show respect for their game and check 'em out...
Brand new for August, the fine folks over at Soirette are unleashing a cherry-white chocolate vanilla bean cake filled with cherry buttercream made with fresh B.C. cherries, white chocolate mousse and finely chopped cherries in each layer (pictured)—is now a good time to confess that I love white chocolate more than dark? I think so, 'cause Soirette just put a cherry on top!
Brix just gave you that reason you needed to visit them. They’re putting just-picked cherries in a brine made with mescal and bay leaves, then serving them with their cheese plates and margaritas. Er, damn, yes, please!
Across the block at Cioppino’s, chef Pino Posteraro has an almond clafoutis with cherries soaked in grappa on the menu. Pino recommends getting a glass of grappa to enjoy on the side.
8. Check out the fun stuff outta town
Summer is made for hitting the road and admiring the rest of beautiful B.C. Over on the Island, exciting things are happening at the Kingfisher Oceanside Resort and Spa, thanks to Dawn Schultz (ex-West) taking over their food and beverage program. She’s just hired Julie Ferris, ex-Wolf in the Fog as their bar manger, so if you want to see a dream team in action, you know where to go.
I really love that Fairmont Chateau Whistler’s executive pastry chef, Anup Chaubal has created a pair of signature chocolate bars: Black Bear and Brown Bear. Created in France at the Cocoa-Barry laboratory, Black Bear is 71.3 per cent cocoa, inspired by early morning strolls on the trails of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains and made with cocoa beans of five single origins from four different continents. Brown Bear is 41.5 per cent Cocoa, inspired by the ‘pronounced milky tones of legendary Swiss milk chocolate.’ This creamy bar is made with Venezuelan cocoa beans. Beautifully packaged and the perfect gift, you can buy them in Portobello Market.
Ace chef, Ryan Bissell has taken over the kitchen at North Arm Farm in Pemberton and with the help of a shiny new top-of-the-line espresso machine is whipping their lunch, brunch, pastries and gelato program into shape. On the menu: farm-fresh organic produce, naturally leavened sourdough bread, Ocean Wise fish and ethically raised meats... what’s not to love? Open daily between 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., say hi to your new road-trip meal obsession.
9. Get Frenched at Tableau
One of my favourite bartenders in town is back at the helm at Tableau and Homer Street Café. J.S. Dupuis is launching a new cocktail menu and wine list over at Tableau in August with a French flavour. I spoke to him to get the details and it sounds magnifique.
“All cocktails—both house and classics—will be French-influenced with at least one French ingredient. The wine list is going to offer great value, especially in the by-the-glass section, adding more sustainable, organic, biodynamic options. The list will be fully French with the exception of a nice little selection of B.C. wines that offer a French-style (as opposed to a typical new-world style) such as Meyer Family Chardonnay, Le Vieux Pin Sauvignon Blanc. I’ll also be introducing more French apéritifs as well as our beer list, although still 100 per cent B.C., will be more French-influenced. Everything is based around our menu, wanting to really make it easy to pair the food and the beverages. It's very exciting and expect some more French fun coming from us!”
10. Discover Cliquology
I have to confess I was suitably curmudgeonly about this: extra sweet champagne that’s specially designed to be mixed over ice with fruit or veggies? Um, what? But you know what? Turns out Veuve Rich makes a heap more sense than I’d imagined, and if you want to get extra fancy with your drink mixing and use champagne instead of a basic sparkler, then that extra sweetness helps balance things out. Plus, it’s Veuve!
Give ‘Cliquology’ a whirl yourself, and try the Veuve Rich Reserve with blueberries and raspberries over ice, or for something more herbaceous, try it with tarragon and basil. I used the same glass that I’d use to make a Spanish-style G&T, so something nice and bowl-like. Load it up with ice, add your ingredients and then top with bubble. Got something to celebrate this month? This will really make it special.