I thought 7 nights in Whistler would be too much. Is there enough going on in the spring to occupy someone for over a week? It’s right in between ski season and bike season, the Gondola is shut down for maintainance and I was bringing a 3 year old. Well, it wasn’t too long, in fact I didn’t want to come home. Whistler isn’t just a tourist destination, it’s a community and I feel like I become a part of that community a little more every time I visit.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the things I saw and did over the last 7 nights (In Pictures).
One day I’ll figure out a way to live in Whistler full time.
It’s been a few years since I’ve been to The Vancouver Aquarium and it has had some major renovations lately, the perfect time to go check it out with the family! My daughter is 2 and a half, the prefect age for an introduction to the aquarium. She’s old enough to appreciate it yet young enough to be free (3 is the cut off). I’ve always loved the aquarium and we had a great day showing our daughter the wonders of the world that are hidden in its oceans, lakes and rivers.
There’s something for everyone at the Vancouver Aquarium. If you’ve never been or you haven’t visited in a while it’s worth another look.
Introducing our good friend Kurt who is a Seafood salesman, husband, father and singer. Loves food, and is a cousin of the father who birthed WFLBC.
When Scott asked if I could attend a launch party for Bibo’s new brunch menu, I believe I may have said “YES” before he finished asking the question. With my beautiful wife on my arm, I headed to Bibo at 1835W.4th Ave. in Vancouver.
Bibo is owned and operated by Andrea Bini and Lorenzo Bottazzi (hence Bibo). Their mission is to present the most authentic Italian dishes possible, and I have to say I was impressed.
When I arrived there was wine and Antipasto aplenty. The wine is from their 400 year old family winery. The cheese and meat were great (I am looking at you Chili Gorgonzola), but the star for me (and maybe for the whole night) was the Bagna Cauda. Although it is a very common dish of the Piedmont
region, I have never had it before. It is a warm dip made from olive oil, butter, garlic, and anchovies. Served with fresh vegetables for dipping, it was everything I need food to be. Rich, deep buttery flavor, and a little salty kick from the anchovies. I think I stood in front of it for a while so that
nobody else could take any (I am like that).
The focus was on the Farinata and the Foccaccia Al Formaggio Genovese. Farinata is a flatbread made from chick pea flour, and cooked in a wood burning oven. Foccacia Al Formaggio is a thin Foccacia with cheese, also baked in the wood burning oven. Farinata and Foccacia joints are as common
in Italy as pizza joints are in North America (This according to Lorenzo Bottazzi). Matteo Ortu owned one such restaurant in Italy, and is now part of the Bibo team. Unfortunately I did not get to try the farinata, but I can give you the low down on the foccacia.
The particular foccacia that came out was a focaccia al formaggio di Recco. It is made by dotting soft cheese between two thin sheets of dough then baked in the wood oven. This dish was much anticipated and it barely hit the table before it was gone. Imagine dropping a sack full of free Coach Bags in a mall on Black Friday, it was kind of like that. Even though I elbowed my way past a few very attractive girls that were all taller than I (I am 5’11”), I only managed to
get my hands on one sad little piece. Looking back, I should have let my wife have some of it, but it didn’t occur to me at the time. It was crispy, cheesy, and oh so delicious. It had a slight fried cheese flavor that reminded me of saganaki (Greek fried cheese). With one tiny piece left in my hand, I knew what I had to do……I gave it a bagna cauda bath and deposited directly into my pizza pie hole. Perfection!!
I finished off the meal with a nice house-made chocolate gelato, and I was out the door. Although I was bit bummed to not get my hands on the farinata, it gives me a good excuse to go back. I definitely will, and I can already taste the bagna cauda.
May I introduce a new guest blogger, Russ. This marks his “writing anything, ever” debut. He’s a systems engineer and he’s currently working abroad in China. His crepes are soooooo good he puts me to shame, I’m hoping he’ll do a guest post for those one day. Oh, and I’m married to him 🙂
When in need of some fast food when I first arrived in China from Vancouver, I stumbled upon a KungFu restaurant at the ShangHai Pudong Airport. Intrigued, I thought I would try it out, as an alternative to vastly more accessible and familiar KFCs. If you have ever been in a lineup at fast food restaurant in China, you will know it’s not really a line up. When one person has finished ordering everyone else tries to be the next person to order, and it can be a little overwhelming if you find yourself at the front of the line and you have not really decided what to order. You are not allowed to take up space at the front of the line if you are not ready to order. Orderly line-ups just take too much time… I found myself hastily pointing at a picture of a meal and ordering a beef rice bowl combo.
The beef and onion steamed rice bowl was decidedly satisfying. It was served with a side of boiled lettuce salad dressed with slightly salty and vinegary dressing. I had never had boiled lettuce before, but surprisingly, it was very tasty, and I definitely could have used a larger portion. A cool lemon iced-tea drink was a good choice when the outside temperature was more than 35 degrees …. and to top it all off, a nice view of Bruce Lee… Going head-to-head with Colonel Sanders of KFC right next door. While you can find KFCs in China like Starbucks in Vancouver, a rice bowl is nice change from chicken burgers and fries when you need something quick. And I do mean quick. My order was filled before I had even thought I finished deciding what I wanted. In fact I did change my mind once, and they quickly swapped what was on the tray in front of me. The decor is like that of most fast food places, but with a nice inspiring Bruce Lee keeping watch. So if you ever find yourself passing through the Shanghai Pudong international airport, take a short stroll to this restaurant section near the Maglev train station. You’ll find 2 KFCs, and of course KungFu. You won’t be disappointed. (pictures attached)
The joy of living in a temperate rain forest sometimes means that your heat turns on in the middle of the day on July 2nd, and the weather resembles late October. Originally I was scheduled to go to Maurya later on in the week, but all the rain and grey and yuck outside prompted me to seize the moment and move up my reservation.
I had the luxury of obtaining a complimentary dining pass for Maurya’s Spice through VANEATS before they went on sale to the public. I thought the restaurant was beautiful with its high ceilings and subtle, but elegant décor. It was the perfect place to go for date night.
The service was impeccable. Moreover, I was seated promptly, the wait staff was polite and intuitive, and I never had to ask for a thing. Our meal started with Papadum, which is a thin, savoury, crispy, wafer-like appetizer. We casually broke off small pieces, and dipped it in the mango chutney and the cilantro paste that was provided while we waited for our food.
We’d been given the heads up by a fellow food blogger that this dining package is a lot of food to eat on your own, so we decided to share the meal. When it arrived I was a little skeptical about the portions, but it actually worked out well for us. Included in the dining pass was:
Garlic and Basil Naan, Indian leavened bread flavored with chopped garlic and basil
Mixed greens & beets salad, lightly tossed with vinaigrette
Seekh Kebab, minced lamb mixed with spices & skewed in charcoal oven
Mixed Vegetables, seasoned and pan fried broccoli, bell peppers, green beans, zucchini
Chicken Chettinad, Marinated chicken in South Indian chettinad paste of coconut and poppy seeds – 2009 Dine Out Vancouver Award Winner!
Daal Maurya, Maurya’s Pride! Black lentils cooked overnight. A real accompaniment to an Indian meal
The Garlic and Basil Naan bread was so amazing with the Chicken Chettinad and Daal Maurya heaped on top of it. We ordered another basket of the Garlic and Basil Naan (at an additional cost) at the end of the meal to sop up the remainder of the sauces, and that put us at a comfortable level of full. It’s no wonder that the Chicken Chettinad won a Dine Out Vancouver award. The lovely flavours of coconut and Indian spices and poppy seeds blend together for rich flavours; there were big smiles from both us after our first bites. I thoroughly enjoyed the Daal Maurya, and I’m glad that a very traditional element was included in the meal.
This place is by invitation only and if you’re so lucky to be invited, you have to help make dinner and you might have to help name the creation.
May I present to you The Dominique, aptly named for its creator, the lovely and oh s0 talented (and tall) Dominique Fricot. Does his name sound familiar to you? His voice has been gracing the airwaves from 100.5 The Peak, and he was recently announced as one of the top 20 contenders for this year’s Peak Performance Project. He and his former band, The Painted Birds, were in the first Peak Performance Project back in 2009 and he credits a lot of his knowledge of the business to his experience in the PPP. He confessed that one of the reasons he entered the PPP last year was so he could go to Band Camp at Rockridge Canyon, and I don’t blame him. Don’t follow the other bands’ Twitter accounts, it will lead to heartbreak when you read about how much fun they’re having and the beautiful setting of Rockridge Canyon. I and many others are scheming to get ourselves to band camp without actually being in a band. This year he’s back as a solo artist. His song Haunted by Love is getting quite a bit of airplay and he just released his EP ‘If Baby Could Walk’ which is available for purchase here.
The Dominique – serves 4-5 hungry people, 25 mins to prepare
½ lb bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 chicken breasts, cubed
White cap mushrooms, sliced
1 jar of Blue Cheese Dressing
Greens – your choice of mixed greens, leaf lettuce, butter lettuce, even spinach would have been good
Vinaigrette of your choice
Combining two of my favourite things- cooking and music, which happen to be two of Dominique’s favourite things, we set out to make a meal together. I asked Dominique what we were going to be cooking and he confessed that the dish didn’t have a name, and since Bacon-Chicken-Mushroom-Blue-Cheese Rotini is a mouthful, we settled on The Dominique. Apparently Fricot is already a soup; I imagine The Dominique Fricot is a pasta and soup combo with a side of soulful lyrics and a dash of charm. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it?
I chopped the bacon into one inch pieces while he cut the chicken into cubes. In my opinion, everyone can cook with a recipe, it’s when you start to make a recipe your own that the magic happens. That’s how Dominique started cooking, too. His mom’s friend gave him his first cookbook after he graduated, and he initially he followed the recipes. These days he finds his inspiration online, looking at the comments at the end of recipes for the tips and tricks of those that have cooked before him. However, this dish was unwritten, one that was passed down through friendship, trial, and error until now.
The chicken went into a hot wok with a little bit of olive oil, and after a few minutes the bacon was added. Meanwhile, a pot of water was boiled for the pasta and Dominique got down to business preparing a simple summer salad. I stirred the wok every now and then to ensure that the bacon was cooking evenly, and at the ¾ mark he tossed in some sliced mushrooms and we let those cook down.
Dominique prepared a lovely summer salad with greens, mango chunks, and shredded beats. Yes, shredded beats are as messy as they sound, but I think they taste really great in their fresh state. You can do it yourself by peeling the beets with a potato peeler and then using a cheese grater to shred. It adds an earthy, sweet flavour to the salad and it looks beautiful against the orange hue of the mango. Easy like Sunday morning, and a fresh accompaniment to the pasta. Once the pasta was cooked and drained, the bacon, chicken, and mushrooms were added and a jar of blue cheese dressing was stirred in. Voila! Dinner was ready. The pasta was creamy and rich, and surprisingly not dominated by the bacon. This was an easy meal to prepare, and it was delicious. Definitely a recipe I will keep in my back pocket for unexpected guests which seem to happens at my house fairly often.
You know what made the meal fantastic, though? The chef. Do yourself a favour and go check out his music. His tunes are so smooth and mellow, perfect for afternoon cups of tea and lounging. Scott’s daughter even has Dominique’s East Coast Girls on her iPod which she listens to every night at bedtime. Looking forward to Dominique’s musical journey over these next few months as he plays his heart out for an opportunity to win $100,500.00 in the Peak Performance Project. Best of luck and thanks for having us in your home, Dominique. Follow him on Twitter and check out his Facebook page for shows and updates.
Eat! Vancouver is just around the corner and WFLBC and SurreyIsTheBomb.com want to send you and a guest to check out this awesome food and beverage extravaganza!! Enter by posting the following on Twitter.
“I entered to win 2 @Eat_Vancouver passes from @WhatsForLunchBC and @SurreyIsTheBomb! http://wp.me/pVVWR-z5 RT to enter!”
Hosted by the energetic and charming Fred Lee the event was very fun and upbeat, all of the chefs did a great job and created some fabulous brunch dishes, lots of money was raised for a charity very close to my heart and everyone had a great time. The winner (two years in a row!) was the one and only Chef Ned Bell from Yew Restaurant with his take on a reverse Eggs Benedict served in a de-constructed style in a jar, it was so good I had two!! I’ve never eaten so many perfectly poached eggs in my life!
Faithful readers, how the heck are you?? Remember last summer when we had a little event called Andrewpalooza? Of course you do, and guess what, Behind Sapphire the headliner of that awesome fundraising juggernaut is playing a free show at an amazing venue in White Rock! The Semiahmoo First Nations Bandshell!! I tried to find a picture of it but I failed miserably so you’ll just have to come down and see it for yourself! Free outdoor show at White Rock Beach!!!!
The show starts at 7pm on Saturday, May 5th, there will be special guest bands, Behind Sapphire will be playing as a 9 piece band, you can pick up thier latest release, Diamonds, for $10, T-shirts for $20 and yellow rain boots for $40!! They’re leaving for China for a few months soon after the show so come and send them off the right way!!
Want to win something? Of course you do! Culture in Vancouver is a fantastic new campaign from Tourism Vancouver that gives people from all across BC the chance to experience the best Vancouver has to offer. Anything from opera to burlesque, fine dining, art exhibits and much more are up for grabs. Imagine a cooking class at The Dirty Apron followed by dinner at Chambar, then drinks at Shebeen Whiskey House and a night at the Empire Landmark hotel on Robson? Or how about dinner at Diva at the Met followed by a backstage tour of the Orpheum, then front row tickets to see The National and a night at the St. Regis Hotel? That’s only 2 of the 5 prizes!!