We often mix up Mojito and have mint readily available on our balcony at GLV headquarters! So, what is a Mojito and why do you need one? Mojito’s were born in Cuba, but there’s often arguments over the actual inventor. “La Bodeguita del medio”, a restaurant in Havana, Cuba claims to be the cocktail’s birthplace, the very spot that Ernest Hemmingway’s sipped on this drink. The African slaves working in the Cuban sugar cane fields created the drink from sugar cane alcohol and it made it’s way to the bar.
The other story we’ve found involves Sir Francis Drake. He came to Cuba for the gold and at the time his crew was plagued with scurvy. Local South American Indians were consulted and recommended aguarediente de cana, mint leaves, and the juices from sugar cane and limes as a cure. Afterwards an “El Draque” cocktail was seen in Cuba, with those very ingredients, named after Drake. Either way we’re happy to sip one and salute all of those who contributed to this muddled and mixed creation!
Here’s one from Bacardi, a readily available rum that often sits on our shelf.
Library Square is keeping summer rolling on Saturday with the “Juluau”— a pig roast and Tiki drink party which kicks off on their patio at 3pm. Tickets to the event are $25 and include:
Pig Roast and all the fixings
A Parallel 49 Filthy Dirty IPA
Fun in the sun, with South Pacific décor
A menu of delicious Tiki cocktails will be offered for just $9 each including Mai-Tais, Ricky Ricardos, and Daiquiris. Tickets are available here.
Fets Pig Roast, Catfish and Whisky Dinner
Beam Suntory Canada’s Bourbon Whiskey Ambassador Matt Jones will be hosting our first Jim Beam pig roast. Matt will be bringing 7 American whiskies and Chef Thien will be serving up a whole roasted pig and a mess of catfish. Matt will be bringing along some new releases as well as a few time honoured classics. How about we add some warm bacon & corn potato salad, collard greens, sweet potato mash and corn bread, then finish of with apple pie topped with bourbon ice cream.
It’s summer, it’s a pig roast and there’s gonna be loads of whiskey. What could possibly go wrong, ehm I mean how great does this sound.There are only 25 tickets available and I can assure you they sell out fast. $77 including GST fees and is open to only 25 people!
Indian Summer Festival
For fans of the Jazz Fest who still want more– come to see Jazz virtuoso, saxophonist Ernie Watts at the Orpheum concertthis Saturday July 8! He will be joined by ‘God of Indian violin’ – L.Subramaniam!
For those looking to combine arts, culture…and sun-bathing! – This Sunday, acclaimed indigenous artist Bhajju Shyamwill set up his easel & carpet (he works seated on the floor) at Spanish Banks! He paints on top of iconic Vancouver cityscapes – infusing them with the forests and supernatural beings from his own storytelling tradition
For those looking for a bargain (…aka all Vancouverites!) – Get2 for 1 events for $35 – entrance to the world-renowned 5×15 speaker seriesand star-studded musical finale Constellations, with a lineup including rock star Bif Naked and legendary Mercury Prize winner Talvin Singh!
Thanks to the ever-charming Chef Victor Bongo, the ever-ready to travel Tess G. and I got an invite to the Naramata Bench for the launch of the chefs new menu and the wines Bongo created in conjunction with Serendipity Winery. We live in delicious times I tell you! You can check out the full story on the launch right here. While we were there we managed to sneak a little bit more into this Okanagan Wine Country visit.
The HondaCRV was perfect for cruising up from Vancouver with a ton of room for our wine purchases. More on that ride soon!
We checked into theApple d’Or Bed and Breakfast, an absolutely stunning property overlooking the lake. They’ve spent a great deal of time created this gem, it looks like a large, luxurious log cabin from the outside, and is equally impressive once you open the door. There’s a special feeling at Apple d’Or, and each detail has been well thought out. The hosts are readily available should you need anything, but you’d hardly know they, or any other guests, are there as the rooms are spaced out, walls well insulated and privacy never was an issue.
The beds are super comfortable, I should know as I had to spend far too long there the night I first arrived as I was super-ill with some sort of insane food poisoning I picked up in Vancouver.
A stroll around the property reveals well-attended yards, unique sculptures and the spacious swimming pool which is now open for the summer.
Tea and coffee are available in the common area; they use a local tea company and there’s freshly roasted coffee, with real cream and milk of course.
Breakfast is served each morning and as we were there two days we were treated to something different each day I particularly enjoyed the smoked salmon, perfectly poached eggs, and the caramelized grapefruit.
The rooms are decked out with air conditioning, a music system, heated bathroom floor, small kitchen, flat screen TV, DVD player, telephone, high speed internet and individual private patios adjacent to the garden with a barbecue. Not a place we were eager to check out of at all! Highly recommend, especially for a romantic escape.
After my hellish night being deathly ill, I somehow made it out of bed that morning and was eager to get up to some fun. Total #fomo as I’d missed out on dinner the night before at Hillside Winery. Tess had really enjoyed it and I’ll have to get there next time.
A delicious breakfast was enjoyed and we headed out to the farmers market where I purchased a much needed sun-hat. Then we were on to Victor Bongo’s Serendipity wine launch. The kids pictured were eating the craziest item and strongly suggested we indulge, but I don’t think my stomach will ever be ready for this insane combo.
Check out this post for details on the wine launch and luncheon, and here’s a few shots to give you a hint of what you might expect if you dined at the Naramata Inn under Chef Bongo’s watch; delish!
There was time to check outLegend Distilling between lunch and dinner, so of course we had to sample a few cocktails made with the local gin and vodka.
That night dinner at the Inn was a delight, Bongo and his team of chefs created an exceptional meal, paired with great Serendipity Wines and the service was spot on. After a bit of entertainment we called it a night.
The next morning another great breakfast appeared from Apple D’Or and we then packed our bags and got ready to slowly head back to Vancouver, thinking a few stops were in order along the way.
Back to the Inn, Chef Bongo had prepared a lovely buffet brunch; the frittata was delightful.
We almost cleaned out the cheese display at Urban Bench Winery. Shana Miller’s artisan cheeses are my favourite local cheese, each and every one of them. The winery’s Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays are exceptional and I grabbed a couple bottles of Chard for another night or day. They’ve just installed a pizza oven, and from what I’ve observed from photos posted, the breads look delightful; we’ve added it to the to do list for next time.
Tess had just had the 8th Generation Vineyards bubble at Chef Meets Grape, and was eager to repeat the experience so we stopped in to do a tasting and grab a few in Summerland. Their Rieslings are also exceptional.
The building is stunning, and they are making some excellent bubble as well as aromatic whites, Chardonnay and Rose and the food looked amazing. This gem will certainly elevate the profile of Okanagan Wine Country, and you may have remembered its previous incarnation as Greata Ranch.
The name Fitzpatrick’s refers to the well-known family that owned Cedarcreek Winery until the recent sale. They’ve been making stellar wine in the valley for decades. Take some time to visit this one and plan to stay a while in Okanagan Wine Country.
Chef Victor Bongo Launches New Menu at The Naramata Inn and Releases Enchanté by Bongo Wines
A few months back we joined Chef Victor Bongo in Vancouver to sample items for his new menu (details here), and now that he’s fully installed in Naramata he kindly asked us to join him for a Bongo-style weekend. Bongo likes to celebrate and does everything with flare, so it was no surprise the weekend was rather special.
Tess and I drove up and checked into the Apple d’Or Bed and Breakfast (more on that soon), a spectacular boutique accommodation on the Naramata Inn that we highly recommend. I unfortunately had food poisoning from something I ate in Vancouver, so I spent the first night in bed feeling like I might die. Tess went off to have a meal at Hillside Winery Bistro and she raved about it , fortunately much later on as I was not in the mood to hear of any food when she came home! Don’t feel like she abandoned me, the last thing I would have wanted was company at this point. THE WORST! And she did what she could for me.
Fortunately I bounced back the next morning and was able to enjoy the superb breakfast provided and even had coffee; yes, I’m a trooper. AND then it was off for some wine tasting at the launch of Victor Bongo’s wines at Serendipity Winery.
Tess and I went through the wines at Serendipity first, we’d enjoyed the Pinot Gris last year at our YVR Hobby Chefs dinner we hosted and this vintage is also very good.
Venturing upstairs Bongo had arranged for Codfather’s to shuck oysters, while he sabered a couple bottles of Serendipity Bubble to kick off the event, and then into the wine cellar we went for a long table luncheon.
Okanagan Goat Cheese & Fig Soufflé with Enchanté Viognier 2016
Scallops & Berkshire Pork belly with celeriac puree Serendipity Rosé
Dried Wild Mushroom crusted Venison with black truffles with Enchanté Victoire 2012
Superb luncheon and we wondered how we’d ever eat again! After a stop at Legend Distilling for a little liquor and cocktail sampling we rested up back at Apple d’Oro and prepared for what would be an even more decadent evening. We knew that Chef Victor Bongo would have many tricks up his sleeve.
Mix Up Some Absolut – ly Delicious Cocktails For Canada Day
To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, Absolut collaborated on a limited edition bottle with Canadian textile artist Libs Elliott and I was fortunate enough to be sent one to play with. Through her quilts, she’s revitalizing a craft with a deep legacy by incorporating modern technology in her methods . Through coding, Libs generates random geometric designs –and then manipulates and refines them further to create a quilt design.
Each quilt ends up being a one-of-a-kind variation of colour, shape and fabric – a fitting metaphor for Canada. “We’re also all these different pieces, shapes and colours,” says Libs, “with different beliefs, customs and values – but we all somehow fit together.”
Her Absolut Canada bottle design – created through the same process as her quilt-making – features traditional Canadian motifs and colours to reflect the pride we all share in this special anniversary. It’s also a fitting way for Absolut to celebrate Canada’s rich heritage while looking forward to what lies ahead of us.
1.5oz lemon juice
.5oz maple syrup
.5oz egg whites
Combine all ingredients and dry shake then add ice and shake until chilled. Garnish with a few dashes of angostura bitters.
.5oz heavily peated scotch
Simple syrup to taste (up to .5oz)
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice then shake until chilled. Fine strain into a cocktail glass rinsed with additional peated scotch and garnish with coffee beans.
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a grapefruit zest.
1oz Watermelon Juice
.5oz lemon juice
.5oz simple syrup
Combine all ingredients except soda in a shaker and shake with ice until chilled. Fine strain into a Collins glass with ice and top with soda water. Garnish with a mint leaf and watermelon ball in the rim of the glass.
0.5oz Lot 40 Rye Whisky
0.5oz Lemon Juice
0.5oz Triple Sec
Top homemade Iced Tea
Build in a Collins glass and garnish with lemon wheel.
Dine Out For a Cause – Les Dames d’Escoffier August 16, 2017
As a proud member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, I’m always eager for each year’s Les Dames Summerdine, a concurrent dinner party held all over the province raising funds for our scholarship and outreach programs.
This year the fundraiser is on August 16th and you’ll find fabulous food and wines at more than 30 different restaurants, wineries, cooking schools and culinary venues across BC. Most are dinners, with one exception – a very special luncheon at Sea Cider Farm and Ciderhouse on Vancouver Island. I’ll post more about all of this separately.
Last year I bought tickets for Pacific Yacht Charters and I couldn’t say enough good things about that night, and we booked it again for another superbly executed event catered by their crew for our recent Les Dames d’Escoffier Induction Dinner (where we celebrate our new members). All of the Summerdine events are of course worthy, but I’ll share a few pictures from this one last year, just to give you a taste of what could be yours for just $79.00. Many dinners are sold out already, but Pacific Yacht Charters has been so generous that they’ve given us 20 seats, so there are still a few available.
We were welcomed aboard with a Selection of these beautiful passed canapes.
Their bartenders are exceptional and each time we’ve had a special signature cocktail for the evening. This one featured Ungava Gin.
Many thanks to Pacific Yacht Charters for their generous donation of a table for twenty and to Marcus Von Albrecht of XFour Vodka for the chocolate liqueur. What a night! Can’t wait to do it again this year.
Tickets going fast! Many dinners are sold out, but since this once has twenty there is still room (as of July 1) for you and your friends.
Let’s Get Ready to Celebrate Canada in Vancouver – 150 PLUS YEARS
I’m tagging this Canada Day #Canada150plus because Canada has been here a lot longer that 150 years! Nevertheless, we’ve got a country to celebrate and more and more reasons to celebrate as we find new ways to unite, merge and define our own versions of this great country. We’re over on Vancouver Island, exploring our province once again, and Michael’s Dad has just returned with fresh crabs from the ocean in Qualicum which we will boil up tonight. Our country is tasty and full of so many offerings up right from our own backyards. Make sure you eat and drink Canadian this weekend! Here’s some suggestions of how to do so.
Great Canadian BBQ at H2 Rotisserie & Bar: Canada Day, Saturday, July 1
Don’t just wing it this Canada Day, treat yo’self by celebrating Canada’s 150th on H2 Rotisserie & Bar’s poolside patio. Between 11:30 AM and 5:00 PM, bring your crew and experience the taste of the True North with a traditional BBQ al fresco featuring your choice of tenderloin steak, prawns and scallops skewers, salmon fillet, or a hearty beef burger. Each entrée is $24-$34 and includes your choice of signature kale quinoa or summer greens salad, corn on the cob or grilled vegetables, and a Nanaimo Bar or butter tart to top it off. Add a skewer of prawns and scallops for $8, and spice up your picnic with a flight of local craft beer for $9 or a flight of BC wine for $16. Live tunes, local spirits and outdoor games fit the bill for a Canada Day you won’t forget. Reserve your spot online via OpenTable, or call (604) 691-6966.
Timber July 1
Celebrate with us and the West End BIA on Saturday July 1st by coming to watch the inaugural Timber Ball Hockey Tournament benefiting the Britannia After School Hockey program. From 12-4pm, on the Jervis street side, local brewery teams, a Timber/Forage collab team, Bomber Brewing guys, and a team from B.A.S.H will face off to win the coveted TBHT trophy. Drink specials, s’mores in the courtyard, and Chef Whittaker cookin’ up some delicious bison on the Timber patio. Lighthouse Brewing is offering to donate 10% of sales for the day of their 150 Heritage Maple Ale to the Britannia After School Hockey program. It’ll be a Canada Day to remember.
#timberbits #TBHT2017 #notyouraveragesportsbar
Ancora Waterfront Dining and Patio Raises a Glass to Canada 150 With Fresh Seafood, Champagne and Stunning Water Views
On July 1, the Ancora Glacier – a statuesque seafood tower that showcases the best of British Columbia’s backyard bounty – will be paired with a bottle of Dom Perignon Champagne, for $150 per person.
Diners are invited to settle in at Ancora’s coveted patio anytime between 2 and 5pm to indulge in the Canada 150 feature. Known as one of the most stunning seafood towers in the city, the Ancora Glacier will be stacked high with freshly shucked oysters, Peruvian mussel escabeche, causa (potato terrine topped with seafood), fresh ceviche and tartare, and a selection of sashimi. Designed for two to share, the dish comes served alongside a chilled bottle of Dom Perignon, creating for guests a truly idyllic afternoon. The regular dinner menu will also be available from 4pm onward on Canada Day.
The Canada Day feature is available on Saturday, July 1 from 2-5pm for $150 per person. Seating is limited and designed for two people, and advance bookings are required. To reserve, email email@example.com or call 604.681.1164.
To celebrate Canada’s 150th Anniversary, Hy’s challenged the cocktail team at each of its five locations to develop a drink, using local ingredients, which would reflect the tastes of their region.
Naturally, Canadian Rye Whisky shows up, along with boutique gin and local craft lager. Hy’s Vancouver will also offer a special Canada 150 Happy Hour menu with the addition of a few locally-inspired choices. Along with classic favorites like Hy’s Cheese Toast, Vancouver’s Happy Hour will feature delicious bites like West Coast Candied Salmon, and house made Nanaimo Bars, perfect for sharing in celebration.
The Canada 150 cocktail list and summer Happy Hour features will be available until August 31st. The cocktails may be enjoyed any time, while the Happy Hour menu is offered in the lounge Monday – Friday from 3-6 pm. For full menu details, visit http://hyssteakhouse.com/locations/vancouver
Canada Day Cookout – July 1
YVR Food Fest in the Olympic Village (215 West 1st Ave) 12pm – 7pm
A gigantic Austin-style outdoor party with bands, DJs, and, of course, amazing food, the Canada Day Cookout will be one of the city’s biggest celebrations. The event will feature some of the top bands + DJs in the city, while the culinary aspect will be based around the idea of pairing great tasting BBQ staples (everything from dogs and burgers to brisket and ribs) with great local craft beer.
Street Food Showdown – July 2
YVR Food Fest in the Olympic Village (215 West 1st Ave) 11am – 8pm
Upwards of 80 food carts and restaurants will be on hand. Each one will offer up an affordable tasting menu items that allows one to sample as many different food carts and restaurants as they can handle. This feeding frenzy will be complemented by pairings from the top breweries, wineries, and distilleries in the province. At the end of the event, attendees will vote on their favourites and winners will be declared in a variety of categories.
Honda Accord Hybrid Touring – Touring the Okanagan
If you been watching our recent antics, we’ve been on the road a lot lately and this April were cruising around the Okanagan pre and post wedding testing out the newest Honda Accord Hybrid, the 2017.
The Accord is roomy and comfortable, perfect for packing everything up we needed for the nearly three weeks away. The rear seats don’t fold, but the trunk is spacious nevertheless.
The two-motor system includes both combustion and electric engines, a combination that meant the stops at the gas pump were few and far between. Definitely a plus. There are two electric motors, one is fixed to the back of the engine that charges the battery, and one powering the vehicle transferring power to the front wheel. The combustion is a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle inline four-cylinder engine. The Accord provides 212 horsepower, one of the highest in mid-sized sedans out there.
The car hugs the road and corners well, turns quickly and brakes strong. The 0 to 60 time is 6.9 seconds, we didn’t test it, but it certainly feels quick. Lanewatch is a really cool feature of this car, a camera located on the passenger rear-view mirror that provides extra visibility, eliminating those blind spots.
It’s a stylish auto and quiet on the road, with a handy navigation option and a stellar stereo operated on a 7 inch touchscreen with front and rear parking sensors. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity are provided, but we usually don’t hook up the phone as I’m in the passenger seat most of the time and can easily take calls from there.
This was a great car for touring the Okanagan and comes with a variety of options. The $26,385 selling price special currently on the Honda website (June 2017) includes the following.
185-HP, 2.4-LITRE, 16-VALVE, DIRECT INJECTION DOHC, I-VTEC® 4-CYLINDER ENGINE
6-SPEED MANUAL TRANSMISSION (MT) OR AVAILABLE CONTINUOUSLY VARIABLE TRANSMISSION (CVT)
17″ ALUMINUM-ALLOY WHEELS
60/40 SPLIT FOLD-DOWN REAR SEATBACK
APPLE CARPLAY™/ANDROID AUTO™
HANDSFREELINK™-BILINGUAL BLUETOOTH® WIRELESS MOBILE PHONE INTERFACE WITH STEERING WHEEL-MOUNTED CONTROLS
HEATED FRONT SEATS
DRIVER’S SEAT WITH 10-WAY POWER ADJUSTMENT INCLUDING POWER LUMBAR SUPPORT
LED DAYTIME RUNNING LIGHTS, LED TAILLIGHTS
MULTI-ANGLE REARVIEW CAMERA WITH DYNAMIC GUIDELINES
REMOTE ENTRY SYSTEM
This elegant and stylish car was a hard one to give back and we really wished someone would have generously bought this as a wedding present! One can dream.
Chatting Cocktails With Danielle Jeckel at RauDZ in Kelowna
We were up in Kelowna several times this spring for our wedding planning and festivities (no I won’t shut up about that yet) and I met up with bartender Danielle Jeckel of RauDZ restaurant for an interview about their cocktail program. This Kelowna favourite has superb food and a drink list with salutes to locally spirits, wines and beer.
Danielle whipped up at Pistachio Rose Gimlet with Long Table London Dry Gin. Simply divine!
To listen to the segment on TSN1410
Pistachio Rose Gimlet
2 oz Long Table London Dry Gin
3/4 oz house made pistachio syrup
3/4 rose water simple syrup
1/2 fresh lime juice
Garnish with edible flower or rose petal!
To see the backbone of RauDZ Regional Table, you only have to look as far as the kitchen where, behind the clear glass and stainless steel, a talented group of cooks put out hundreds of dishes on a daily basis.
Their work begins early in the day, with prep and carries on until well after the last guest leaves.
Talented, and hard-working, the staff in the kitchen are able to successfully carry out Chef Butter’s vision and their impact on the success of the restaurant cannot be understated.
Next time you come in, look behind the frosted glass and see Canada’s next top chefs.
Chef Butters along with Executive Chef Brock Bowes and Chef de Cuisine Robyn Sigurdson ensure only the best is served.
Lately I’ve been extremely fortunate to have several experiences where I’ve learned just a little bit more about Indigenous culture. I was first invited to share in a Cooking For Reconciliation Feast at Skwachays Lodge with Chef Rich Francis who had recently spent his first visit in British Columbia’s Aboriginal communities filming a series about the spirituality, culture and history of the Yuquot, a coastal area of Nootka Island where the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation call home.
More recently I joined one of the Talking Trees Cultural Experiences at the Sea to Sky Gondola and Michael and I were honoured to walk with a guide who shared snippets of her family stories, discussed the areas plants and how they were used historically. It is a very important time in Canada’s history as we head into celebrating Canada’s 150, while also desperately need to honour the years and the peoples that came before. We will certainly look forward to the opportunities that come my way to learn more about our country’s history.
Today is National Aboriginal Day, which will soon be changed to National Indigenous People’s Day, a fact I just learned while tuning into the news (imagine that). The recipes comes from Nk’Mip Winery in Osoyoos, from the winery’s first Aboriginal winemaker, Justin Hall. The winery is North America’s first Aboriginal owned and operated winery, and we’ve enjoyed many of their wines, in particular, their Qwam Qwmt Chardonnay, which would pair very well with this fry bread. Nk’Mip also makes a stellar Riesling Ice Wine should you be going for the sweeter version.If you don’t want to make your own Fry Bread I recommend heading out to Salmon and Bannock on Broadway for their version, along with many other items that are inspired by traditional Indigenous cuisine.
For a less traditional meal, try to Bin 941 on Davie Street for their Fry Bread and the Trio of Dips including Chickpea and Kalamata olives Hummus; Oven Dried Tomato and Goat Cheese Salsa & Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. Perhaps a very small way to celebrate the diversity of our Canadian culture.
Fry Bread Recipe
2 cups flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 to 1 tsp. yeast
1-¼ cups warmish water
Vegetable oil for frying (enough to allow the dough to float in the pot)
In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients
Form a well in the center and add your warm water. Mix until ingredients are combined.
Cover and let it sit in a warm place until it doubles in size. This process can take between 1 – 2 hours.
When the dough is ready, you can start by heating your oil in a saucepan to 200 degrees Celsius.
Thinner pieces seem to turn out better, so place a small amount of oil in your hands and on the counter, then pull off a piece of the dough using your own weight to thin it out before cooking. Repeat this process until all of your dough is in small, thin rounds.
Depending on the size of your pot, place your dough into the hot oil and watch it carefully.
It will begin to bubble immediately and turn golden brown within 1 minute, showing the oil is hot enough. If it doesn’t bubble or brown quickly, your oil is too cool. Remove this piece and allow the oil to heat up before starting again.
Each piece will take about 4-6 minutes to cook. Half way through the cooking process, you will need to flip the dough so it cooks evenly.
Sweet: Dust it with cinnamon sugar, Top with chocolate sauce and fresh fruits, Keep it simple with butter and homemade jam
Savoury: Enjoy it as it comes out of the pan! Top with local smoked or cured salmon, fried capers and herbed cream cheese
Good Life Vancouver is all about the good life in and around Vancouver and often far beyond!