Sakura and Spring Celebrations

A) Sakura Festival 2015 櫻花節

Japan Fair日本節

http://www.japanfairvancouver.com

Where: 溫哥華植物公園VanDusen Botanical Garden 5251 Oak Street (37th & Oak), Vancouver

Date: Sat., April 11  & Sun., April 12 , 2015

Time: 10:00am – 5:00pm

Tojo's Sakura menu

Japanese restaurants serving “Sakura menu”

下列十間日本餐館特別推出「應節應景櫻花餐」:

Hapa Izakaya Coal Harbour 909 W. Cordova St., Vancouver 604-420-4272 http://www.hapaizakaya.com

Special Menu: Laksa Soba $10.99

Juno Sushi Bistro 572 Davie St., Vancouver 604-568-8805 http://www.junobistro.ca

Special Menu: Two kinds Tuna Tekka Don & Shrimp Mousse Osuimono Soup $15

Kishimoto Japanese Kitchen 2054 Commercial Dr., Vancouver 604-255-5550 http://www.is.gd/kishimoto

Special Menu: Asparagus Oshisushi $12.95

Kitanoya Guu Kobachi 735 Denman St., Vancouver 604-683-0735 http://www.guu-izakaya.com/kobachi

Special Menu: Smoked Salmon Mini Chirashi $8, Soy Milk Strawberry Mousse $5, Sakura Kobachi-tini $7.5

Minami Restaurant 1118 Mainland St., Vancouver 604-685-8080 http://www.minamirestaurant.com

Special Menu: Sakura roll $18

Rajio Japanese Public House 3763 W. 10th Ave., Vancouver 604-558-1679 http://www.rajiopublichouse.com

Special Menu: Crab & Salmon Roe Hot Stone Bowl $13.20

Seto Sushi 155-8460 Alexandra Rd., Richmond 604-231-9493  http://www.setosushi.ca

Special Menu: Sakura Sushi Set with Chawanmushi, Miso Soup and Ice Cream $33.50

Shuraku Sake Bar + Bistro 833 Granville St., Vancouver 604-687-6622 http://www.shuraku.net

Special Menu: 5 Kinds of Sashimi $26.95

Tojo’s Restaurant 1133 W. Broadway, Vancouver 604-872-8050 http://www.tojos.com

Special Menu: Tojo’s seafood salad with cherry mentaiko dressing $24.00

Zipang Provisions 3068 Main St., Vancouver 604-428-5700 http://www.zipangprovisions.com

Special Menu: Spring Sweets with Sakura Tea $8.80

Nikkei Centre celebrates Spring 本拿比Nikkei日本文化中心迎春節目

6688 Southoaks Crescent, Burnaby. 604.777.7000 www.nikkeiplace.org

Admission: Free! Info & Bento Orders: 604.777.7000

(B) Glowbal opens 3rd Trattoria in Burnaby意大利餐館進軍本拿比

 

102-4501 Kingsway, Burnaby. 604-424-8779 http://www.glowbalgroup.com

tratoria entrance

Glowbal Group marches into Burnaby and opens the 3rd Trattoria at an iconic location – the northeast corner of Kingsway and Willingdon.  Within walking distance to Metrotown, Crystal Mall and numerous high-rise apartment buildings, this truly is the “Buzzing spot for homestyle Italian fare”!

(C) Opera Buffet at Café Pacific 泛太平洋酒店周末歌劇自助晚餐

 

  1. Pan Pacific Vancouver, Canada Place, Vancouver. 604-662-8111 http://www.panpacificvancouver.com/the-hotel/dining/cafe-pacifica/

Opera performing

Still charmingly delicious and entertaining, this long-living Saturday night event takes buffet dining to a higher note.  With the majestic five sails, north shore mountains and glittering ocean painting the evening skyline, the elegant restaurant famously offers the city’s paramount best close-up water front view.

(D) Joey 餐廳集團獻上春日菜單 www.joerestaurants.com

Chef Chris Mills of Joey's

Executive Chef Chris Mills and his passionate team of chefs have been seducing diners with  menu items such as Tandori Chicken Flatbread, Baja Fish Taco and Spanish Paella, but this spring, their Caribbean-inspired menu will be a hit. Don’t forget to sign off with Joey’s house-made naturally-flavoured ice creams. At $4 per pop, do consider getting a double order.

Joey's house-made maple-walnut icecream

 

 

 

Spring is here, so are the cherry blossoms!

Celebrate Spring 2015

This April is “Sweet Dreams Dessert Month” at Cactus Club Café

http://www.cactusclubcafe.com

Everyone is welcomed to take part in tasting feel-good sweetness at Cactus Club Café this month as it marks its 15th year in partnership with Make-A-Wish BC & Yukon.  Cactus Club Cafe locations in B.C. and Alberta will donate proceeds from every dessert sold to Make-A-Wish BC & Yukon.  In addition to raising the funds to grant a child’s wish this year, Cactus Restaurants donates gift cards for families to enjoy a bon voyage meal on their way to wishes coming true.

Banoffee Pie

Meatball Challenge

Presented by vancouverfoodster.com, 14 restaurants across lower mainland are in this month’s Meatball Challenge with their one-of-a-kind meatball creations. Four media judges, including yours truly will be sharing their thoughts and reviews at the end of the month. Be one of the public judges, just send in your votes via social media. For details, log onto http://www.vancouverfoodster.com.

Asian meatballs

Sakura Benefit Event”

http://nikkeiplacefoundation.org

kohmi_hirose_web2

This Saturday, April 4th, 7 – 10pm. Nikkei Place Foundation presents the first ever Sakura Benefit Event at the Coast Harbour Hotel. This will be an exciting evening of exquisite live music, featuring the performance of Japanese recording star Kohmi Hirose. Having sold over 2.4 million of her album The Best “Love Winters” in Japan, this is indeed a rare opportunity. This intimate concert setting will be accompanied by the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra led by conductor sensation, Kenneth Hsieh. The evening will also feature a special dinner set prepared by Vancouver’s own Chef Hidekazu Tojo of Tojo’s restaurant. Proceeds for this event will benefit the programs and services of Nikkei Place in Burnaby, BC.

Celebrate the 9th Annual Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival with Aburi Restaurants’s Miku Restaurant and Minami Restaurant

http://mikurestaurant.com  (70 –  200 Granville Street)

http://minamirestaurant.com  (1118 Mainland Street)

Miku and Minami are brightening up their spring menus to welcome the upcoming Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival with the introduction of several Sakura-themed items: two new Sakura Rolls and a special spring cocktail.

Sakura Night

Tojo’s Restaurant on West Broadway.

http://vcbf.ca

A handful of distinguished Vancouver chefs will participate in “The pink tie affair” April 19, 2015.  This is the evening of exquisite Japanese cuisine gathering the city’s renowned chefs from top local Japanese restaurants under one roof as guests partake in a unique dining experience for one-night only.

tojos_headshot_web

Celebrate the Malbec World Day – special tasting events

To celebrate Malbec Day, BC government liquor stores will have Malbec free tastings throughout the month of April. Check with your local BC Liquor Stores for tasting schedules. Everything Wine locations will kick off the celebration on April 11 2pm to 6pm with tastings of different Malbec. Legacy Liquor Store will follow on April 17 4pm to 8pm. April 18, 2pm to 5pm, Marquis Wine Cellar will go all out with tastings of a variety of Malbec to pair with tasty empanadas and DJ music to liven up the atmosphere (RSVP required. (604) 684-0445 www.marquis-wine.com). Donation to the BC Hospitality Foundation is welcomed for this event.

The Osoyoos Oyster Festival

http://osoyoosoysterfestival.com.

The 4th annual Oyster Festival returns to the South Okanagan, April 22-25 and showcases oysters produced by West Coast fishermen, alongside Canadian wines and craft beers.

BC oysters

Programs include:

Miradoro Long Table Dinner, April 22. Miradoro Restaurant at Tinhorn Creek Winery offers a three-course dinner dedicated to the oyster. $39 pp.

Under the Tuscan Sea – Oysters, Bubbles and Pizza at Terrafina, April 23 Terrafina at Hester Creek Estate Winery invites guests to sample pizza and oysters paired with spring releases from Hester Creek and tastings from the winery’s ‘bubbly’ neighbours. $45pp.

Seaside to Greenside at the Osoyoos Golf Club, April 24 Enjoy oysters paired with exclusive scotch, including Glendronach 2003 KWM Cask 1820 and BenRiach 1997 Cask 4435, along with noteworthy gin from Gallagher Lake-based distillery, The Dubh Glas Distillery. $50pp.

Oyster Catch and Brew Bash at Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort & Spa, April 24 An evening of oysters and culinary creations, craft beer and ciders from local breweries and live entertainment. Results from the Oyster Craft Beer Competition will be announced at the event. $32pp.

Oysters in the Garden at Walnut Beach Resort, April 25 An afternoon event held in a beautiful garden setting at Walnut Beach Resort, guests will enjoy freshly shucked oysters with wine tastings from the winning wineries of the Oyster Wine Competition. $30 (Early bird: $25)pp.

Art of the Oyster Pearl Gala at Watermark Beach Resort, April 25 Guests will enjoy oyster creations from South Okanagan restaurants and chefs, wine pairings from Oliver Osoyoos wineries, and freshly shucked oyster and seafood stations. Results from the Oyster Wine Competition will be announced at the event. $48pp.

Amateur Shuck ‘n Suck Competition at The Sage Pub, April 25 Come to compete or come to cheer as teams of two compete to win the coveted title of the Best Shuck ‘n Suck Team in the Okanagan. One team member shucks while the other sucks back the oysters. Registration: $10 per team.

Stay in Osoyoos – Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort & Spa, Walnut Beach Resort and Watermark Beach Resort are offering Oyster Festival room rates. Special offer: For every two-night booking at any of the resorts (from April 21-26), receive one complimentary ticket to the Oysters in the Garden event on April 25.

 

 

Celebrate February with sweet harmony and Good Luck wishes

多姿多采多賀羊年    溫馨浪漫情人節

1/ Chinese New Year Buffet at Pan Pacific Hotel’s Café Pacifica

泛太平洋酒店農曆新年自助餐

Cafe Pacifica

When: Feb 22, 2014  (星期日年初四)

What: Chinese New Year Brunch Buffet & Live Entertainment

賀羊年豐厚自助餐、娛藝表演

Reservation and information訂位。查詢:604-895-2480

Adult成人: $52

Senior耆英:$48

Children age 6 to 12 歲兒童:$26 (5 & under: Free五歲或以下免費 )

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Beyondchopsticks.com Give-Away: 自助餐卷抽獎活動

Café Pacifica Chinese New Year Buffet for Two

Email your one sentence Chinese New Year wish to

請將你的羊年願望(限一句)電郵至beyondchopsticks@gmail.com  

Deadline截止: Feb 11 Noon (2月11日正午)

Winner will be contacted by email

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2/ Shangri-La Hotel celebrates Lunar New Year with traditional arts

香格里拉大酒店發發賀農曆新年  請來大師表演功夫茶及變面藝術

Chocolatas - elegance-slider-7pc-tinThe hotel welcomes Che Huadong, tea master and trained expert in the arts of Kung Fu Tea and Chinese Face Changing Opera. The start of the Lunar New Year provides an auspicious occasion to welcome Huadong to his new home at Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver, and to showcase these traditional performance arts that are rarely seen outside of China.

When: 19 February 11am 年初一上午十一時   舞獅、點睛、變面表演及功夫茶藝

Where: Xi Shi Lounge 西施廊

Kung Fu Tea MasterOpera Face Changing

Reservation: 604-661-3352 http://www.shangri-la.com

Guests can view Huadong’s performances every Saturday and Sunday in Xi Shi Lounge at the following times: 其他表演時間:逢星期六、日

下午一時: 1:00 p.m. Chinese Face Changing Opera 變面

下午三時: 3:00 p.m. Kung Fu Tea Show功夫茶藝

*Guests can also enjoy shorter tableside Kung Fu Tea performances during afternoon tea service, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday.

2/ ChocolaTas – Granville Island市場精致巧克力店

Pairing wine & chocolate, Vegan Chocolate and Gluten Free Chocolate

Chocolatas - elegance-slider-7pc-tinChocolatas - elegance-slider-7pc-tin

Chocolate is for everyday celebrations as well as special occasions for the ChocolaTas team. With a Valentine’s Day around the corner master chocolatier Wim Tas and his wife Veve have been busy developing unique beverage pairings to honour this grand fete. So this year make your Valentine’s Day gift to your sweetie even better with wine or whisky. Try the Violet & Raspberry milk chocolate with a full bodied chardonnay or the vegan Almond & Grape Jelly dark chocolate with a spicy Syrah.

ChocolaTas is proud of the diversity of flavours and styles their collection offers and have developed a line of Vegan chocolates using the highest quality of cocoa. These vegan chocolates are available as Valentine’s gifts; choose from vegan lips (vegan fig ganache made with coconut milk instead of cream), vegan heart beats (crunchy hazelnuts), vegan almond and grape jelly or vegan local hazelnut, packaged in a lace heart or a smart reusable tin box. And all of the ChoclaTas collection is gluten free.

分店:101-31060 Peardonville Rd. in Abbotsford or order on-line at www.chocolatas.com.

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This week’s restaurant recommendation:

Novo Pizzeria  — 2118 Burrard (夾西五街) 604-736-2220  www.novopizzeria.com

食評請上中文「以希飲食網」

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Fraser Valley – Sweet Valentine’s restaurants recommendations

**Restaurant62, Abbotsford (In the Gateway building)

2001 Mccallum road (604) 855-3545  http://www.restaurant62.ca

**Preston Restaurant, Chilliwack (Inside Best Western Hotel)

45920 1 Ave. (604) 701-3070  www.dinepreston.com

**Bacchus Bistro, Langley (at Domaine de Chaberton Winery)

1064 216 St (604) 530-9694  www.chabertonwinery.com

**Seasonal 56, Langley

26730 56 Ave. (604) 625-5601 http://www.seasonal56.ca

37th International Wine Festival vibrates with the Year of the Ram

Henry Yuen’s Wine Business – Beyondchopsticks.com on AM1470

vines

The 37th Vancouver International Wine Festival:

February 23 to March 01, 2015

Featured wine country: Australia

Themed wine varietal: Syrah

Main tasting room, selected events and seminars: Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre

Other festival events, wine-pairing dinners, winemakers’ dinners: Various restaurants and venues

George Wyndham Founders Reserve 2010 Shiraz - bottle image

If you think there’s still a whole month away from the 37th Vancouver International Wine Festival and there’ll be 8 days of programs to choose from, why hurry? Well, think again!

This annual wine festival is regarded by global wine lovers as one of the top food & wine events in the world, the pool of tickets will be snapped up much quicker than you could imagine; especially the main festival tastings where 750+ wines will be poured for our sipping pleasure; and hot-ticket items such as the Vintners Brunch, the black-tie Gala extravaganza and wine dinners by big-name wineries at fine restaurants.

After the successful Champagne theme and France focus last year, 2015 will showcase Syrah as the varietal and the focus wine country is Australia, with 170 wineries and 14 countries represented. This combo means at least one thing – there will be no shortage of big wines on site!

Australia - 2015 themed wine country

While formal events and more serious seminars are popular amongst the earnest and/or industrial friends, there are other fun and casual events for those who just want to have fun with wine. Wine Minglers will be where spontaneous conversations about the wine, the winemaking process, the wineries…etc. are to be had; the 25 under $25 listing 25 great choices of good wines available in BC for under $25, are the ones I recommend for novices and those who are not yet ready to spend a bunch on unfamiliar wines.

wine-pairing dinner

Plan ahead:

No matter if you are going to the main tasting only; or to as many dinners and seminars as you can, alone, or with one or more buddies; or perhaps need to buy tickets for gift-giving for these events are known to be greatly-appreciated gifts items, plan soon; purchase the tickets ASAP. The first thing  to do, go online and check out the programs, make notes and then order tickets.

Ready to swirl and sip

New this year:

1/ Wine from Croatia: Wines from this East European country will make their wine festival debut.

2/ Wine from New York States: Yes, those New Yorkers can and have developed their own wine regions. They are here to show us their pride and joy.  I look forward to comparing their wines with those of Niagara.

3/ Wines by the case: Wines poured during the Festival Tasting sessions by the wineries will be available to the public for purchase in case lot, marked by special tags right at the booth so the public can place their orders right there and then. These wines are imported under special permit for the duration of the festival and may not be available afterward. Once ordered, the wines will be delivered to local liquor store of your choice for pickup.

4/ Make that a wine-tasting weekend getaway: Check out participating downtown hotels that not only offer special Wine Festival room rates but will throw in a free ticket. Why worry about driving home, or going home when the comfort of a bed is only minutes away.

wine seminars

Reminder:

  • If you plan to sample at least half of the wines at the tasting room, one session will not cut it. Get a tasting room package so you can go in and out at a much more leisure pace instead of jamming in too much at once.
  • Map out a tasting route, work out a system: By country, by varietal, just the reds, or the whites, or any others? Stick to it!
  • For those who aim at sipping all expensive or rare-finds first, make an alphabetical list of the wineries offering them and follow the list.
  • Transportation plan: Do not ‘Drink & Drive’, please use public transits, taxi cabs, or get dropped off and picked up.

Food & Restaurant News

AM1470 Show Bytes Jan 13, 2015

Divine pasta dish with shaved truffles

Divine pasta dish with shaved truffles

13th Dine Out Vancouver, 2015

When: January 16 to February 1

What: Participating restaurants offering 3-course dinner at $18, $28 or $38,  BC VQA wine-pairing, numerous food & fun events…and much more!

Where: For complete restaurant listing and dine out menu, log onto: http://www.dineoutvancouver.com

Stephanie’s suggestion:

  1. Pick at least one from each price bracket.
  2. Be adventurous – try new restaurants and ethnic cuisines
  3. Book ASAP
  4. To better your chance of grabbing a table, avoid going as a large group.
  5. Do go through the restaurant list, there are gems of restaurants hidden away that you may not be aware of.
  6. Take a look at the menu choices as some are more enticing than the others.

Beautifully plated bento box of appetizer - the 1st course at Gyoza Bar

Going to Granville Island Public Market? Stop by Oyama Sausages to see what their ‘welcome to 2015’ line-up is for the month of January.

1689 Johnston Street #17, Vancouver. (Granville Island Public Market)

(604) 327-7407  www.oyamasausage.ca

Goodies from Oyama

Oyama’s Choucroute Festival : January 22nd – January 25th

Choucroute is a famous Alsatian dish preparing sauerkraut with sausages and other salted meats and charcuterie. Oyama does all the work for you, preparing the sauerkraut, all you need to do is choose from a wide selection of sausages, invite your friends and enjoy. And stop by Granville Island Brewery or your favourite artisan beer and pick up something thirst quenching.

21st annual Taste BC  

www.taste-bc.com

When: Thursday, January 22nd from 4:30-7:30pm

Where: Pan Pacific Vancouver Hotel

What: The event features BC wine, beer, cider and spirits accompanied by local fare from restaurants and providers from across the lower mainland.

Why: A fundraiser for the Oak Tree Clinic at BC Children’s Hospital. The Foundation provides specialized HIV care for infected women, pregnant women, partners, children and youth, and support services for affected families.

Opening soon – Pepper Lunch 胡椒廚房   

www.pepperlunchcanada.com

When: February, 2015

What: DIY Teppan

Where: No. Road, near the Waves Coffee and London Drugs, Richmond.

Capacity: 1,600 square feet; 50 seats

Menu focus: Pepper Lunch classics with a focus on using as local as ingredients as possible and Certified Angus Beef for all beef dishes. Black pepper is freshly ground up daily.

Pepper lunch - premium steak

A glance at the menu: B.C. steelhead salmon, Beef and Pork Curry Rice, Sakura Pork Pepper Rice.

Before landing in BC, Pepper Lunch was only available in Asia and Australia.  There are currently more than 350 Pepper Lunch restaurants worldwide in Japan, China, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, South Korea, and Australia.

Pepper Lunch brand specializes in creating sizzle plates that hit hungry mouths with big flavours, finest quality cuts of meat, and unique sauces. People can literally see exactly what they are eating and decide how they want it cooked. Diners cook their steak, meat of choice, and seafood to-order on a special, patented hot plate created by Pepper Lunch founder, Chef and Inventor Kunio Ichinose. The plate uses proprietary, electromagnetic cooking technology and is sizzling hot at the table, about 260 degrees Celsius.

New Year Resolution? Eat healthy, live happy with apple cider vinegar and olive oil

Why not start your day with a glass of warm water with 1 tsp. of apple cider vinegar first thing in the morning or olive oil?

IMG_8841

Health benefits of apple cider vinegar

  1. Settles diarrhea
  2. Cures hiccups
  3. Soothes a sore throat and clears a stuffy nose
  4. Lowers cholesterol
  5. Prevents indigestion
  6. Aids in weight loss
  7. The amino acids contained in apple cider vinegar helps boost energy
  8. Cuts down on nighttime leg cramps
  9. Kills odor-causing bacteria – use as mouth wash, or drink a teaspoon (diluted with water if you prefer)
  10. The vinegar helps remove stains, whiten teeth, and kill bacteria in your mouth and gums. Gargle with apple cider vinegar in the morning.

Healthy benefits of olive oil

  1. To prevent snoring – Swallow a spoon of olive oil before bed.
  2. To reduce stomach ulcers and pain – Mix one table spoon of olive oil with a 3/4 cup of citrus juice or vinegar and drink.
  3. Relieve Coughing – Swallow a spoon of olive oil mixed with a spoon of honey. Another option is to massage the upper back and chest with olive oil at body temperature.
  4. Treating swollen / red gums – Wash your mouth with a mix of olive oil and water.
  5. For digestive problems – Swallow a spoon of olive oil every morning on an empty stomach. Another option is to drink a glass of water with a spoon of olive oil and a spoon of lemon juice.
  6. Lowers blood pressure levels
  7. Helps control cholesterol
  8. Prevents heart attacks
  9. Prevents cancer
  10. Fights aging

 

This Christmas…

AM1470 Sound Bytes: beyondchopsticks.com with Deborah Moore

1/鯖魚善賣Buckets/bags of Herring for Charity 4th Fishermen Helping Kids with Cancer

Richmond and Victoria, B.C.

The 2014 Herring Sale will take place this Saturday, December 6 in Steveston, Richmond, from 8am to 4pm (at the south end of Trites Road: 12740 Trites Road) and at Finest at Sea Seafoods in Victoria, BC between 7am to 4pm (27 Erie Street).

Pacific Herring in Buckets

A key factor behind this success is the commercial fishing industry’s commitment to cover literally all costs related to the event, so absolutely every penny raised from the sale of herring is contributed directly to help kids with cancer. “The best thing about the herring sale is that 100% of the money goes to the kids,” says Brent Melan, the Burnaby fisherman who came up with the idea for the event and captains the seiner, MV Prosperity,  that catches the herring for the Herring Sale.  Brent adds, “I am only one of over 100 volunteers who so willingly donate not only resources but endless hours of time to plan and run this event most effectively and efficiently. Key people and companies donate everything for the event from the fishing vessel, unloading facility and fish bags, to their time devoted as boat crewmen, forklift drivers, traffic controllers and fish baggers. In fact, volunteers have bagged more than 10,000 twenty-pound   bags of herring since the event started.”

All you have to do to support this meaningful fund-raising event is to go out there this Saturday and purchase one or two buckets or bagful of herrings! http://www.fishermenhelpingkidswithcancer.com

1/Traditional Caviar Service at Cactus Club Café 珍品魚子醬 與加拿大鐵廚

http://www.cactusclubcafe.com

Cactus Club celebrates this festive season with Chef Rob Feenie’s newest and creative concepts, fit for both romantic moments and get-together sharing.

My favourites are:

a/ Ocean Wise British Columbian caviar – Divine Sturgeon and Acadian Sturgeon caviar with brioche toast and blinis, served in a beautiful half-moon shape glass sculpture. The theatrical presentation is only the beginning of an exotic culinary journey – savour each and every bite!

A crest of caviar

b/ Ocean Wise Albacore Tuna Sushi Tacos – The unique crunchy yet flaky taco shell carries an Asian touch, perfect for group munching.

c/ Beef Carpaccio – Olive oil lovers behold! Domenica Foire Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Italy that dresses those paper-thin slices of Canadian tenderloin is an award winning product chosen to compliment the sweet flavour and juicy sensation of the meat. For $40, you can purchase a bottle of this ‘World’s Best’ Olive oil, each signed by Chef Feenie. Proceeds will go to The Boys club Network to benefit youths in our communities.

beef carpaccio

Future attraction: An exclusive dinner to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Chef Rob Feenie winning the Iron Chef America title in the Battle Crab episode with his “Dungeness Crab Rolls”. YOU COULD WIN AN INVITATION!!

Iron Chef Dungeness Crab rolls

 

2/ “Forage” Holiday Cheer  $35四道菜節日大餐

Chris Whittaker of Forage is a well-respected and very talented chef. I was fortunate enough to be invited to his home and savoured a one of a kind multi-course “Moose” dinner. This definitely is one of the top ten meals on my 2014 best list.

Chef Whittaker making a moose pot-roast at home

This holiday, Chef Whittake is offering a four-course menu for $35 each for you and three of your families and/or friends to indulge into at his restaurant “Forage”, an award-winning restaurant on Robson. The added bonus is – everyone will take home a house made cranberry preserve.  Please note: minimum reservation is for four people and reservations are absolutely required.

訂位:604-661-1400   網頁www.foragevancouver.comhome-made Tortelloni

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beyondchopsticks on AM1470

Beyondchopsticks with Deborah Moore

Showtime: Tuesday, October 7th @10:30am

Contents:

A) Okanagan Wine Festivals and BC Wine Awards

Drawn by lush vineyards, misty lakes and harvesting energies surrounding the wineries, September has always been my favourite month to visit Okanagan wineries. I had one more reason to do so this year – judging the British Columbia Wine Awards.

There were a record-breaking number of 540+ entries in this year’s BC Wine Awards Competition. As a new member of the panel of 9 judges, I expected to face tough challenges, but found myself having much fun and learning tons about BC wines and the wine-judging process. Conversations with fellow judges, every one of them masters in the field; and the hardworking souls behind the Festivals and the Awards humbled me. After 3 days and many flights of sipping and spitting; numerous bottles of water and slices of breads, we selected 5 Platinum, 3 Gold, 113 Silver and 122 Bronze medals.

Judging captain Sid Cross getting ready

Celebrating its 34th year, the Fall Okanagan Wine Festivals is the oldest wine festivals in BC. The 10-day long festival is the best way to present the best of Okanagan. From terroir to bottle, from farms to tables, the food and wine events spans across the lakes and valleys. This year, the Festivals unveiled with a bang – The Premier’s Wine Award presentation at the welcoming party. There are still tons of delicious food and wine to be had and gleeful events to participate for those who decide to join in the fun this weekend.

The annual British Columbia Wine Awards Reception kicked off the Festivals and was highlighted by Premier Clark’s handing out the very first Premier’s Wine Award in person on site. The winner of this prestigious award, selected amongst the 5 Platinum-awarded wines is:

See Ya Later Ranch Rover - Premier's Wine Award

See Ya Later Ranch Rover Shiraz – Viognier 2012. Remaining Platinum wines are:

  • Baillie-Grohman Estate Winery Cabernet Franc 2012
  • Quails’ Gate Syrah 2012
  • Silkscarf Winery Viognier 2013
  • SpierHead Winery Pinot Gris 2013

For full results for this year’s awards, visit: http://www.thewinefestivals.com/wine_awards/british-columbia-wine-awards.

**Premier’s Wine Award was selected from all Platinum medals, and based on the judges’ consensus, The Best Wine in British Columbia was named the Premier’s Wine. This wine represents varietal consistency and a combination of superb grapes and winemaking.

B) Sustenance Festival – Making Connections, Building Relationships

Since 2009, Sustenance has been an annual festival of the Vancouver Park Board. Sustenance is all about food, art, sustainability, celebration, discussion, and food security. It’s dynamic, creative, delicious, educating, and timely.

A city-wide festival with local food-inspired workshops, cooking classes, exhibitions, talks, walks, dances and more – all taking place in community centres and public spaces throughout Vancouver.

Chef Karen Barnaby cooking at Sustenance Festival

Now to October 19

http://www.sustenancefestival.ca

 

 

 

 

 

C) Game and Wild Mushroom Festival

Now in its ninth year, the Game and Wild Mushroom Festival takes place October 15 to November 2 with three or four course prix fixe menus featuring wild, local mushrooms, deliciously rich game meats such as elk, red deer and speciality foods.

Four restaurants, multi-coursed dinners and exotic dining experiences:

La Buca opens for dinner Sunday to Thursday from 5 to 9:30 pm and from 5 to 10 pm on Friday and Saturday. 4025 MacDonald Street. 604.730.6988 or dinner@labuca.ca

Pied-a-Terre opens 7 nights a week for dinner and for lunch on Fridays.

3369 Cambie Street. 604-873-3131 or eat@pied-a-terre-bistro.ca.

Sardine Can near Gastown’s Maple Tree Square offers bar seating, classic Spanish tapas dishes, and an all-Spanish beer, sherry, wine, and brandy list. Doors open every afternoon at 4 p.m. (noon on weekends)

26 Powell Street. 604-568-1350 or tapas@thesardinecan.ca.

The Abbey Already receiving rave reviews, the progressive tavern offers pedigreed food with a modern sensibility. Open daily for dinner from 5 p.m., with Happy Hour daily until 6:30 p.m.

117 West Pender Street. 604-336-7100 or info@abbeyvan.com

Stuffed mushroom at Abbey

 

 

 

 

 

 

D) Canadian Chocolate Awards

The Canadian Chocolate Awards judging is now taking place at Vancouver Community College. Canadian winners will be announced October 9th. All Gold, Silver and Bronze winners of the Canadian Chocolate Awards will go forward to the World Finals in London, UK on November 4–6, 2014. There, Canadian winners will compete against winners from the European, Germany/Austria/Switzerland, Scandinavia and Americas rounds for the 2014 World prizes. info@internationalchocolateawards.com

E) Stephanie’s Cookbook Recommendations:

The Chocolate Tasting Kit by Eagranie Yuh – Everything you need to know about chocolate

The Deerholme Foraging Book by Bill Jones – Wild Foods and Recipes from the Pacific Northwest

Eating Stories published by Chinese Canadian Historical Society of British Columbia – A Chinese Canadian & Aboriginal Potluck

The SOBO Cookbook by Lisa Ahier – Recipes from the Tofino Restaurant at the End of the Canadian Road

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Beyondchopsticks.com on AM1470 with Deborah Moore

Close encounter with Thai Cuisine at the Royal Thai Consulate-General’s residence.

First there were beautiful displays of fruit carvings; and then a picturesque line-up of Thai ingredients, herbs, spices and sauces. Next came the authentic Thai dish -cooking demonstration by two big-named chefs from Thailand who were also professional Instructors at Suan Dusit Rajabhat University:  Dr. Naruemon Nantaragsa and Mr. Siriseangphaiwan. They did make cooking Thai cuisine simple and easy!

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According to Dr. Nantaragsa, authentic ingredients are the keys to eccentric Thai dish. These are the must-haves for the two popular menu items found in most Thai restaurants in town.

1/ Pad Thai

Key ingredients: Dried shrimps, palm sugar, fish sauce, tamarind juice, chilli powder and pickled white radish.

2/ Penang Curry

Key ingredients: Coconut milk, Thai basil, palm sugar, fish sauce, Penang curry paste, kaffir lime leaves.

Being only a week away from the Moon Festival, the Chinese Mid-Autumn Celebration (Monday, September 8) was naturally the focus of the September 2nd segment.

When Real Canadian Super Stores and No Frills display red and gold boxes of moon cakes, and ingredients for cooking a celebrative dinner, you know that Moon Festival (the Chinese version of Thanksgiving) is no longer an Asian celebration but a fun and delicious reason for anyone to bring families and friends together.  Moon cakes are great dessert pastries, to be enjoyed with a pot of tea or your favourite coffee, along with a table full of fresh fruits, candies and nuts, they are the centre piece for the after-dinner full moon celebration in the yard, the patio and even an evening picnic at the park – just go out there and adore the moon and be thankful for a good harvest.

Traditional moon cakes available at The Real Canadian Super Stores and No Frills

A special TWG treat (Urban Tea Merchant Downtown Vancouver)

Come Moon Festival celebration time, a box or two of moon-cakes as a token of appreciation and respect to your parents, the elderlies and all the loved ones may seem boring, may even be a bit too convenient sometimes? What more can you do?

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A decadent and unique “Moon Festival Tea Service” at The Urban Tea Merchant located at Georgia/Alberni @ Thurlow (Tel# 604-692-0071 ) that is.  Decadent is their specially crafted and assembled platter of gourmet delicacies: Miso-glazed sable fish, “Dignitiary’s Tea” chicken cone, chilled prawn ceviche, Fois Gras, fresh tropical fruit and TWG Tea Mooncakes.

Unique are inarguably those Tea Mooncakes – classic shapes of round mooncakes and traditional styles to enhance the celebrative mood but are loaded with tea-infused paste. This year, TWG’s Tea Mooncake edition is called “Red Lantern”, last year was called Silver Moon – enticing and very fitting terms for this Chinese Thanksgiving and get-together celebration. The tea mooncakes are: Red Lantern, Emperor, Constellation and Moonlight are the four flavours. These are limited-time editions available in 3 packaging: 4 and 2 with a special red and white blend of “Red Lantern” tea and the single box.  Check them out soon because they may not be available after September 15.

Moon Festival Buffet for the whole family at Pan Pacific Hotel

For many years, Pan Pacific Vancouver has established its own longstanding tradition of offering a sumptuous Asian-influenced brunch, complete with trademark moon cakes, made in-house by our pastry chef, Hans Pirhofer.

This year, the Chinese Moon Festival Brunch in the Café Pacifica will include a wide range of delights with inspiring salads, a dim sum station, fresh sushi, cold seafood – salmon, snow crab and jumbo prawns, and, of course, our legendary dessert buffet.

Pan Moon Cakes

***Other Events***

5th Tomato Festival at Provence – Chef’s Tomato Menu

Provence Chefs/Proprietors Alessandra and Jean-Francis Quaglia have been giving the season’s wonderful tomatoes the highest note of praise through their creation of Chef’s Tomato Menu. “We are fortunate to have so many heirloom varieties available locally,” says Chef Jean-Francis. “There isn’t any flavour that says ‘summer’ more to me than tomato. The flavours are so intense and each variety is completely different from the other but all are equally wonderful.”

Jean-Francis & Alexandria team up with wholesome tomatoes

Provence Mediterranean Grill’s menu ($45) starts with Tomato Three Ways that includes chilled tomato ‘cappuccino,’ buffalo mozzarella and tomato salad and a Provençal tomato tartlette. Once you’ve polished that off, you must then decide between one of two main courses – how do you choose between Duck Breast Scaloppini or Pan-Seared Mediterranean Sea Bass Filet? Both come accompanied by smoked tomato and bacon marmalade, fiddleheads and sun-dried tomato gnocchi. For dessert, there is Candied Tomato Panna Cotta served with rhubarb honey and a pistachio tuile.

These amazing dishes, from salad to soup, cold and hot appetizers to even desserts, promise to wow your visions and palates. Chef’s Tomato Menu is now being offered at the two Provence Restaurants till Monday, September 22nd.

Provence Marinaside and The Wine Bar (water front @Davis, Yaletown Tel: 604-681-4144 ) and Provence Mediterranean Grill (W. 10. Tel: 604-222-1980)   http://www.provencevancouver.com

Chefs for Ocean

Join Chef Bell to celebrate his return from a successful journey across Canada, at the grand finale event  – a not-to-be-missed food event for a very important cause.

Chef Ned Bell preparing an Asian dishWhere: The Four Seasons Hotel on

When: Friday, September 12 from 6pm to 8pm.

Chef Bell has partnered with like-minded chefs across the country to host 20 sustainable seafood events from coast to coast, and the final event in Vancouver is no different.  Co-hosted with the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program and SeaChoice, Chef Ned will be joined by the following chefs for an evening of decadent seafood tastings, storytelling and celebrations.

  • · Rob Clark, The Fish Counter
  • · Quang Dang, West Restaurant
  • · Frank Pabst, Blue Water Café and Raw Bar
  • · Tim Bedford, Vancouver Aquarium
  • · Dino Renaerts, Bon Vivant Group
  • · James Coleridge, Bella Gelateria

Ticket prices are $40 with free admission for children aged 12 and under.  Event proceeds support the Chefs for Oceans journey and a portion of net funds will be donated to its’ three primary beneficiaries, Vancouver Aquarium’s ocean-friendly Ocean Wise ™ program, SeaChoice and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS).

To purchase tickets via Eventbrite: http://www.cfovancouver.eventbrite.com

Restaurant of the week:

Left Bank – Newest French Bistro on Denman

Stroll down for restaurant review…IMG_7413

 

When Food Truck Asian Fare met German wines

New generation appeal

Words & Pix: Stephanie Yuen (中文博客:http://taiyangbao.ca/food/374354/ )

They came all the way from Germany; and along with great wines, they also brought good news – the German wine industry has embarked on a new era!

At a recent “Generation Riesling” tasting lunch, their alluring Rieslings were not the only featured beauties, also presented was a passionate and young wine-makers Nadine Poss who happened to be the reigning German Wine Queen of 2013-2014! This ‘pageant queen’ was there to describe each wine poured and her wine knowledge was as impressive as her charm.

The 'queen'

Apparently, a new generation of young, passionate and innovative winemakers are transforming German’s wine world.  They are not only bringing in new energies, they are making much more noises and turning heads on global wine stages! What they are doing is obviously endorsed by the wine world of Germany at large. It would be interesting, however, to find out what the courses have been like, challenging perhaps, but the outcome has been ravishing for sure!          Gen Riseling 1

An Asian-themed lunch was served. Two brand-named food trucks: Roaming Dragon and Vij’s Railway Express parked right outside the venue and were turning out small plates in their limited mobile kitchen while the waiting staff strode in and out constantly to bring the plates inside to serve the 50 or so eagerly awaiting guest. Regrettably, no matter how fast and efficient the food truck operators and the staff were, majority of the small plates of food arrived less than hot (temperature). I admit pairing wine with food truck fares is cool and fun, but is it practical and as functional? What is more important here; the wine or the food?

Asian cuisine, especially spicy fares do go well with German Rieslings, but pairing with red wines, any red, has been a different story all along, thanks to the complex of flavour and texture profiles of Asian cooking. Let me reassure you though; the availability of thousands of Asian dishes, traditional or fused, makes the task very doable, provided the right menu choices and logistics were executed!

A total of 10 wines were poured.  The plate made up of two main were served with two Pinot Noirs at the end.  Overpowered by both the spicy “Curry breaded chicken breast” and the Lucknow lamb kebabs, the reds became silent. Sorry to say this, but the limitation of the equipment and facility food truck operators have to face often mean the temperature and texture delivered to our table would be compromises. Why the chicken had to be breaded and the lamb skewered was beyond me, since serving a luncheon party of this size presented enough challenges, and Asians do cook the curry in pots and lambs in chunks. Yes, I’m being picky and fussy here, but we all know how important food quality plays when it involved wine-pairing.

Spicy food & red may crashDon’t get me wrong, I embrace the food trucks who work so hard in the harsh Vancouver market with full respect, but with wine being the main focus, I’d have gone the easier way – go to an S.E. Asian restaurant so the focus would indeed be on the wine, not the food catered by the food trucks.     Reisling & Dimsum

The whites were, on the other hand, fabulous! The three whites I loved most that afternoon were:

Weingut Heitlinger 2008 (Blanc de Noir Sparkling) – Make sure you have a bottle or two chilled away in the fridge – it’s BBQ and patio season after all! This creamy, dry and refreshing Black de Noir bubble Sparking is sensually delicious!

Willems Hofmann 2013 Silvaner – One of the most-planted German white grapes, Silvaner’s tropical, juicy and capturing flavour goes well with a sizzling oyster cooked on the grill, yam fries and chili-peppered chicken wings.

Moselland 2013 Riesling Mosellschild Feinherb  – Feinherb is perhaps the new word for “halbtrocken” which refers to off dry or half-dry white wines. Sweet hints of apple and Asian pear with a touch of honeydew give this Riesling the breezy summery notes.

For more information: http://31daysgermanriesling.ca

An afternoon with burgers and sliders

Words: Stephanie Yuen (Chinese blog: http://taiyangbao.ca/food/359591/

The receipt of Vanfoodster Richard Wolak’s invitation to one of his recent Tasting Plates events to spend one afternoon with numerous burgers prompted two reactions. Henry’s was “Awesome, let’s do it!” Mine was “Huh? Burgers”?

Anyone could tell I am not too enthusiastic about burgers, for simple reasons: Ground meat is off-beat and boring. Burgers is so uniformed. My hands are too small to hold and eat burgers without making a big mess.

Good old Richard assured me these were sliders (mini-burgers) with special touches. In another word, they would all be gourmet burgers.  Why mini burgers are called sliders is beyond me, may be they are small enough to ‘slide’ into the mouth?  Nevertheless, I had to admit, this afternoon of burger adventure proved to be quite an eye-opener.

We started late and due to the participating eateries spreading from Gastown to Denman, we only had enough time to taste 4 burgers. This worked to our advantage – it gave my stomach a break in between burgers and gave Henry a refreshed­ palate for the next pint of beer.

Milestone's burger

First stop: Milstones Robson.

The “Stacked Burger” was a classic: The cute skewer of cherry tomato and pickle added vivid colour to the stack. Moist and fluffy were the juicy patties with perfect thickness. I felt in love with the crunchy Tuna Taco which was definitely a pleasant surprise. Bravo to the chef who went out of the way to create something unique and so tasty!

Henry loved the King Heffy Imperial Hefeweizen from How Sound Brewery. “Perfect drink for burgers and tacos!” was his cheerful comment.

King Heffy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next up was Yagger’s Downtown (Pender Street)

We had the choice of: Yagger’s Famous Cowburger OR Housemade Chorizo Burger. Since there were two of us, we naturally ordered one of each. The existence of both organic beef & pork in one patty in the cowburger was not unusual, but interesting. The double smoked bacon and aged white cheddar would be forever enticing; with chipotle peppers and peppercorn mayo, the burger scored even higher.  The “kick” inside the ground chorizo & beef patty was very engaging and was an excellent partner with cold beer. Once again, my palate loved the side dish “Mac & Not So Blue Cheese” white cheddar& gorgonzola cream sauce on jumbo mac noodles and smartly garnished with fresh bruschetta.

Yagger's two burgers

3rd Stop: The Bismarck Bar

Bismarck Chorizo Prawn Slider applied top ingredients generously, that included using brioche buns, combined to offer layers of flavour and a truly gourmet profile.  Being close to Roger’s Stadium, the Crunchy and extremely flavourful Stadium Fries that came with the slider were the first to disappear.  Classic burger & fries

Last stop: Buckstop Denman

Henry and I both agreed, their Venison burgers stuffed with blue cheese, mushrooms and horseradish aioli was a show stopper.  Two slices of tender loins of venison, not ground, told me 1/ Not all burger meats are minced. 2/ Burgers can be as tasty as any other well-prepared dish. Who knew blue cheese and venison loins are merry couples? The bowl of warm and crispy house-made potato chips was all so seductive, I had to warm myself 8 times to pull to a full stop! Oh, the running-out meter helped too!

Venison burger platter

 

Our sincere apology to the ones that we missed:

Kobob Burger – Mini Bulgogi (Marinated pork with veggies) rice burger, served with a piece of Korean pancake and Kimchi.

DeeBee’s Organics at Whole Foods that offered choices of one of the flavoured Teapops: Berries and Cherries, Minty Mint, Southern Iced Tea, Tropical Mango and Toasted Coconut.