Barbecue at Bistro Pastis Mais Oui!

Summer wouldn’t be complete without grilling on the BBQ. Whether you love the smell of the charcoal, the sizzle of the grill, or the smell of the food, Chef Will Beere knows what it takes to tantalize your senses during the dog days of summer. So much so that he has created a special three-course prix fixe menu that celebrates the great summer pastime.

Three course Barbecue Prix Fix menu for $48 is only available from August 21th to September 8th.

Reservations essential: 604-731-5020 / http://www.bistropastis.com/reservations/

Barbecue Menu

August 21th – September 8th

Barbecue Duck Confit Croquette
Mozzarella, Smoked Onion Coulis

– or –

Beer Braised Pork Belly
Peach and Onion Salsa, Arugula Salad, Apple Gastrique

– or –

Grilled Prawns
Pickled Watermelon, Feta Cheese, Preserved Lemon Aïoli

**********

Smoked Pork Ribs
Grilled Jalapeño Corn Bread, Coleslaw, House made Barbecue Sauce

– or –

Braised Beef Brisket
Black Bean Purée, Grilled Corn, Asparagus, Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce

– or –

Cedar Smoked Sockeye Salmon
Grilled Vegetables and Quinoa Salad, Citrus Sauce

**********

Smores
Toasted Marshmallow, Dark Chocolate, Graham Cracker Crumb

– or –

Grilled Okanagan Peach Melba
Roasted Almonds, Raspberry Coulis, Vanilla Ice Cream

$48.00

2153 W 4th Ave. Vancouver, BC V6K 1N7 | Tel: (604) 731.5020 | Fax: (604) 731.5039

www.bistropastis.com

Gastown Food and Culture Tour – Be a Tourist in Your Own City

Gassy Jack our tour guide

People I think tended to get a bit jaded about where they live.  One way around it I found is to pretend you are a tourist and do touristy things.  It is amazing how you find out about new restaurants, or visit sites that you may have gone to so many years ago.  This was my mindset when I was invited to attend the “Gastown food & culture tour” by Taste Vancouver Food Tours earlier this week.  The tour costs $39, but I attended for free.

It was a lovely sunny day.  Besides me there was our tour guide, “Gassy Jack”, as well as a couple and a family from Ontario for this experience. We started at the Starbucks in front of the Pan Pacific Hotel downtown, visiting 9 restaurants/cafes, and 1 clothing store.  Between these stops Gassy Jack would tell us information about a particular old building, and it’s significance to Gastown, or some historical fact about Gastown.  It kept the walk interesting.

Which Places Did We Visit?

Our stops in order were:

  1. Rogue Kitchen & Wetbar
  2. Steamworks
  3. Rogers Chocolates
  4. Canadian Maple Delights
  5. Brioche Urban Baking and Catering
  6. Trees Organic Coffee and Roasting House
  7. Water St. Cafe
  8. John Fluevog
  9. Peckinpah BBQ
  10. Gastown Tea Company

Lobster Mac n Cheese from Rogue

The tour kicked off with a fruit drink and slice of muffin at the Starbucks, followed by Gassy Jack introducing us to a brief history of Gastown.  First official stop was the Rogue Kitchen & Wetbar where we enjoyed a serving of Atlantic Lobster in a Four Cheese Mac n Cheese.  Very tasty.  There was actual pieces of lobster in the dish.

Onward we trekked to Steamworks, a place that I visited many times. Down the winding staircase we descended, and sat next to the large copper tanks where the beer micro-brewing takes place.  Our beer was a ginger beer, made with real ginger root.  It was a light pale ale in colour and the ginger was not overpowering.  There were 2 children in tow, and they had soft drinks, so don’t worry if you are bringing your children along.

Rogers Chocolates was next, were we tasted a chocolate covered caramel topped with sea salt.  A bit chewy.  It would have been nice to have something to wash it down with.

Canadian Maple Delights is another sweet stop along the way.  Maple syrup tea, two types of maple syrup, maple syrup covered popcorn, and some maple flavoured ice creams were all available to sample.  I did like the tea and the popcorn.  The children I think in particular liked the ice cream.

3 Cheese Tortellini in Sicilian Salsiccia Sauce from Brioche

Brioche Urban Baking and Catering was one of my favourite stops.  While I thought we would be enjoying some baked goods, I was surprised that besides some home baked bread, drizzled with olive oil, we were also served Sicilian pasta, in particular Three Cheese Tortellini in a Sicilian Salsiccia Sauce.  The sauce was light and bright.  I would go here again to try a full plate of this pasta.

My next surprise was Trees Organic Coffee and Roasting House.  With this name, I was expecting to have some sort of coffee drink.  Instead we were treated to a slice of lemon cheesecake.  Their cheesecakes have been voted as #1 in Vancouver.  It was quite dense and had a genuine lemon flavour.  Another place that I would visit again.

Water St. Cafe was our classiest spot on the tour.  I like this restaurant.  Try it out during Dine Out Vancouver.  We were led to the upstairs seating in the restaurant.  I had never been upstairs and did not know there was private seating.  We were treated to a crab cake with kernel corn.  I liked it, but it was very small.  It would have been nice to have a bit more.  While we waited for our crab cake we were told a few stories about the Cafe.  One was that the Cafe is haunted.  I won’t tell you the whole story.  You have to attend the tour.  The other tidbit was that the Twilight cast had a post movie production party there.  So maybe I was sitting in the same chair as Bella or Jacob!

John Fluevog was our clothing store stop.  J.F. is a designer shoe store, started here in Vancouver.  Wear the shoes that Lady Gaga and Madonna wear!

Pulled pork with Carolina vinegar sauce from Peckinpah

Peckinpah BBQ was my other favourite spot on this tour.  They serve Carolina style BBQ.  What’s the difference with other BBQ?  It’s it sauce.  Instead of a thick tomato based sauce, the Carolina style sauce is vinegar based with chilies added. This sauce was served with pulled pork.  I like to judge a BBQ spot on their pulled pork.  I enjoyed it.  The vinegar sauce was not too spicy.  But I need to come back to try a bigger serving of their pulled pork.

Our last stop was the Gastown Tea Company, where we were served tea! and a chocolate cookie.   The tea was called Green Mystique and was served on ice.  They have a wide range of teas that are in sample cans that you can open and sniff before deciding what type of tea you would like to enjoy.  There are white, green, and black teas.  There was one that I really liked the aroma called A Night in Paris.  I would have liked to try this tea.

There is a wrap up afterward at the Gassy Jack statue.  Overall the 2 hours passed by very fast, I learned a bit about Gastown, and a few new restaurants to try. Enjoy!

Okanagan Falls Wineries Uncork Summer Fun at Party in the Park Event

If you are living in the Okanagan, or planning a trip there on July 6, you may want to try some wines and BBQ at the Party in the Park, at Okanagan Falls.  Here are the details I received.  Enjoy!

~~~

Okanagan Falls Winery Association

June 18, 2012 (Vancouver, BC) – The Okanagan Falls Winery Association (OFWA) is pleased to present Party in the Park. The inaugural event will take place on Friday, July 6, 2012 at Kenyon Park.

Guests at the outdoor event will have the opportunity to taste premium wines from a dozen local producers, as well as enjoying a buffet dinner and entertainment. Tickets for the event are only $50 per person.

Party in the Park starts at 5:00 pm with a tasting of wines from the OFWA producers. Dinner will be an authentic Southern-style BBQ buffet dinner prepared by The Chef Instead with live music by Kyle Anderson’s Amazing Rubber Band. Wines by the glass will be available at a nominal cost, and guests will each get a wine glass to take home. Dancing and general merriment will be encouraged. Participants must be 19 years of age or older.

Safe and convenient shuttles are available for transport to and from the event.  Purchase your tickets online at http://ofwa.ca/all-you-need-to-know-about-our-party-in-the-park-get-your-tickets-now/.

Okanagan Falls Winery Association’s “Party in the Park”
Friday, July 6 2012
5:00 – 9:00pm
Kenyon Park in Okanagan Falls

Tickets $50 plus HST

A Tailgate Party, Grilled Pork, & Wine for the Canucks Game!

This weekend I experienced pork nirvana. Pork sausages, ground pork, and bacon cooked several ways on the BBQ by an expert BBQ chef. This experience happened as I attended a class at Well Seasoned in Langley on how to BBQ for a Tailgate Party. Our instructor is Head Cook Andy Groneman, a 14-time Grand Champion and winner of over 150 BBQ awards including:

  • 2010 Jack Daniels World Invitational – World Pork Champion
  • 2009 National Champion—Chest to Chest Brisket Invitational
  • 2009 New York “Empire State” Grand Champion
  • 2009 KCBS – Team of the Year -5th place
  • 2008—Reserve Grand Champion—American Royal
  • 12x Grand Champion and winner of hundreds of BBQ awards

What is a tailgate party?

From Wikipedia, “In the United States, a tailgate party is a social event held on and around the open tailgate of a vehicle. Tailgating often involves consuming alcoholic beverages and grilling food. This is done in order for people to loosen up and have fun before entering the event and also to avoid paying stadium prices for alcohol and food… Tailgate parties usually occur in the parking lots at stadiums and arenas, before and occasionally after games and concerts. People attending such a party are said to be tailgating. Many people participate even if their vehicles do not have tailgates. Also, many people don’t even go into the game and just go to the tailgate to party…Popular tailgate party foods include picnic staples such as hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans, and cold salads like coleslaw or potato salad” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tailgate_party)

Andy’s creative culinary skills brought tailgate cuisine to a higher level.

What did Andy teach us to BBQ?

  • Smoked nuts (no pork in this one)
  • Beer Bathed Brats
  • Pig Candy
  • Smoked Sausage Fatties
  • Atomic Buffalo Turds (It doesn’t sound nice but does taste good)

A nice way to start off any party is with some assorted nuts.  The smoked nuts in this case were almonds and pecans covered with a honey/apple/soy sauce and sprinkled with a BBQ rub of your choice.  Cooking this in the BBQ adds a nice smoky flavour to the nuts and the mix of sweet and a bit of spice enhances the nuttiness. I’d suggest a fino sherry or maybe a sparkling wine, such as a Spanish Cava.

Pig Candy is bacon that is coated in a mixture of brown sugar and cayenne/chipotle powder, then slowly cooked on the grill so that the sugar caramelizes, making a very addictive treat. Again sweetness with a hit of spice mixed with the smokiness of the bacon, plus the crunchiness from being on the grill. There are a few ways to pair wine with this. The first is to go with a Sauvignon Blanc which has high acidity, to cut through the fattiness of the pork.  Another pairing could be to embrace the smokiness and pick a Fume Blanc (that is an oak barrel aged Sauvignon Blanc). If you prefer red wine, maybe a chilled Gamay or a Pinot Noir would be nice. Both have higher acidity and lower tannins, which should complement the sugar and fattiness of the pig candy.

Smoked Sausage Fatties are thick ground pork sausage rolls (maybe 10cm across) that are seasoned inside and outside with BBQ rub, then slowly grilled and at the end coated with a BBQ sauce. The rolls are cut into thick slices, and can be served with a salad.  This could be a main course dish of your tailgate party.  For this dish, I suggest going with an Alsatian-style Riesling or a Pinot Noir from BC or New Zealand.

Sausages on the grill are always nice.  We enjoyed beer bathed brats.  In this instance Heineken beer was used along with various herbs and spices to make a hot bath into which the sausages were placed in the BBQ.  The sausages are taken out later and grilled before serving with fried onions on a bun, or by itself with some mustard. We had traditional bratwursts and as well one made with wild boar, which had a darker colour and more meatier taste.  This was very nice with the herb flavour infused into the sausages.  Pinot Noir, Gamay, Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc all would work here.

Finishing off our evening cooking class was the atomic buffalo turds. This is made from jalapeno chiles cut lengthwise to make a “boat”.  Seeds were removed to make it less spicy.  A filling of cream and shredded cheese, crumbled cooked sausage filled each boat, then each was wrapped in a slice of bacon and then grilled.  It was quite spicy, smoky and creamy.  I think a Riesling here would be needed to cool the heat, or maybe a very fruity pinot gris.  If you are adventurous, try a pinotage!

Well Seasoned has a wide range of BBQ supplies; spices, rubs, and marinades which I have had hard time finding elsewhere.  Langley is a bit out of the way if you live in Vancouver, but it is not that far to go once you get onto the highway, plus you can then go and visit some of our Fraser Valley wineries!

Here is the link to Smoke On Wheels if you would like to read more about Andy and what he has to offer.  Also, a link to Well Seasoned cooking classes.  Enjoy with your Canucks or BC Lions tailgate party!

BC Merlot for Summer Sips

We are well into summer now. With a scorching weekend and upcoming week, I thought it would be time to cover BC Merlot, which can be quite ripe and juicy, and pair up nicely with outdoor BBQs.

Merlot is one of the main components in a Bordeaux blend, with the other two major varieties being Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. I’ve covered Cabernet Sauvignon in a previous summer sips blog, so please read that one as well as this blog article. Cabernet Sauvignon is more structured with higher tannins and usually less juicy fruit flavours. Merlot, when blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, adds that juicy, fruit, round mouth component. But Merlot is also wonderful on it’s own.

Merlot typically shows blackberry, plum and berry fruit flavours.  If very ripe, Merlot may have fruitcake flavours.  It is generally lower in tannins, making it a versatile wine to enjoy with various foods.  Oak aging adds additional complexity to the wine.  If you like cheese, try some Merlot with brie or medium cheddar.

Checking with the www.everythingwine.ca website, I located the following BC Merlots in the $15-$25 range:

8th Generation Merlot 750ml Merlot $23.99
Bounty Cellars Merlot 04 750ml Merlot $23.99
Cedar Creek Estate Selection Merlot 750ml Merlot $20.99
Cedar Creek Merlot 750ml Merlot $19.99
Copper Moon Moonlight Harvest Merlot 1.5L Merlot $17.29
Crowsnest Vineyards Barcello Canyon Merlot 750ml Merlot $22.99
Fairmont Mission Hill Select Merlot 750 mL Merlot $15.99
Gray Monk Merlot 750 mL Merlot $17.99
Hawthorne Mtn Merlot 750 mL Merlot $16.99
Hester Creek Proprietor’s Reserve Merlot 750 mL Merlot $20.99
Hillside Estate Merlot 750 mL Merlot $23.99
Inniskillin Merlot 750 mL Merlot $16.99
J-Triggs Proprietors Select Merlot 1.5L Merlot $17.99
J-Triggs Ps White Merlot 1.5L Merlot $16.99
Kettle Valley Merlot 375ml Merlot $15.99
Little Straw Merlot 750ml Merlot $20.99
Mission Hill 2000 Reserve Merlot 750 mL Merlot $25.00
Mission Hill 2001 Reserve Merlot 750 mL Merlot $18.99
Mission Hill 2004 Reserve Merlot 750 mL Merlot $24.99
Mission Hill Five Vineyards Merlot 750 mL Merlot $17.99
Mission Ridge Merlot 1.5L Merlot $17.99
Monster Merlot 750 ml Merlot $23.99
Monster Vineyards Merlot 2007 750 ml Merlot $24.99
Monster Vineyards Merlot 2008 750 ml Merlot $24.99
Nk’Mip Cellars Merlot 750ml Merlot $19.99
Noble Ridge Winery Stony Knoll Merlot 750 mL Merlot $16.99
Painted Turtle Merlot 1.5L Merlot $16.99
Paradise Ranch 2003 Late Harvest Merlot 375 ml Merlot $16.99
Peller Priv Reserve Merlot 750ml Merlot $19.99
Peller Proprietor’s Reserve Merlot 1.5L Merlot $16.49
Perseus Winery & Vineyards Synergy Merlot 750 mL Merlot $22.99
Quails’ Gate Merlot 750ml Merlot $24.99
Red Rooster Chardonnay 750 mL Merlot $16.99
Red Rooster Merlot 750 mL Merlot $18.99
Road 13 VIneyards Honest John’s Red 750 mL Merlot $21.99
Road 13 Vineyards Honest John’s Red 750 mL Merlot $18.99
Road 13 Vineyards Merlot 750 mL Merlot $23.99
Sandhill Merlot 750ml Merlot $19.99
Saturna Island Merlot 750 mL Merlot $24.99
Saturna Winery Vintner’s Select Merlot 750ml Merlot $21.99
Soaring Eagle Merlot Rose 750ml Merlot $22.99
Sonora Ranch Merlot 1.5 L Merlot $15.99
Stag’s Hollow Merlot 750 ml Merlot $24.99
Sumac Ridge Black Sage Vineyard Merlot 750ml Merlot $19.99
Sumac Ridge Private Reserve Merlot 750ml Merlot $15.99
Tinhorn Creek Vineyards Merlot 750 mL Merlot $19.99
Tinhorn Creek Vineyrads Oldfield’s Collection Merlot 750ml Merlot $24.99
Township 7 Merlot 750ml Merlot $24.99
Young & Wyse Merlot 750mL Merlot $24.99

Merlot is a popular grape in the BC Okanagan, according to the last factsheet put out by the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands.  Some BC Merlot that I’ve enjoyed:

Lulu Island Winery Merlot 2008: Deep purple colour. Oak, vanilla, black plum aromas. Medium body, smooth, plum and cherry fruit flavours.  Medium tannins.
Stonehill Estate Winery Merlot 2006: Earthy,herbal and dark fruit aromas.  Plums and spice on the palate.  Soft tannins.
Poplar Grove Merlot 2005: Double Gold @ Canadian Wine Awards. Light garnet in colour. Cherry, cassis and leather nose.  Big cherry flavour with some vanilla.  Medium tannin and length.
Township 7 Merlot 2006: Medium garnet colour. Plum, black cherry, capsicum and vanilla on the nose.  Medium body with cherry and light milk chocolate flavour. ( I really like this one.  Tried it last July 2010.)
Neck of the Woods Merlot 2006: Medium garnet.  Red cherry, cloves and vanilla aromas.  Medium body.  Full cherry flavour with vanilla and slight spice.  Firm tannins.

Hope you get a chance to get outdoors these next few days and enjoy the summer before it’s gone. And enjoy it with a bottle of Merlot. Cheers.

Pacific Breeze Winery

Many people living in New Westminster probably drive by this winery and don’t realize it is there, and that they have very good wines. Hopefully this post, plus my past tweets will help let Vancouverites know about this winery and try their wines.

Last weekend, Pacific Breeze Winery, had a Summer Launch Release of their Sangiacomo Vineyards Chardonnay 2007 and their Lake County Killer Cab 2006. The grapes for both these wines come from California. The Chardonnay was medium lemon colour, lots of vanilla, citrus and pineapple on the nose. It was medium bodied, with some smoothness (so maybe partial MLF). Vanilla, pineapple and oak flavours. A very nice chardonnay.

The Killer Cab 2006 was medium purple in the glass. Black cherry, vanilla and other black fruit aromas. On the palate I tasted cassis, sweet fruit, black cherry liquor, and some spice. Nice round mouthfeel with medium tannins and a long finish. When the weather warms up this week, I think I’ll be bbq’ing and drinking this wine.

In their backroom, they had 2 additional wines to taste; the aCURE eSTATE Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 and the aCURE eSTATE Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2006. The 2005 was 81% Cab with 17% Merlot, 5% Cab Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, while the 2006 was 80% Cab with 16% Cab Franc, and 4% Petit Verdot. Both wines looked and tasted quite different. The 2005 was really dark and extracted in the glass. Vanilla, cassis, cherry and cedar aromas. Chocolate, cocoa, vanilla, and black cherry flavours. Very smooth. The 2006 was a medium garnet in colour (I thought it would be darker as it had a high percentage of Petit Verdot). Leathe, licorice, cherry, and nutmeg on the nose. Lots of cassis, black cherry and some spicy. Very tasty. Either wine is a winner.

Where is Pacific Breeze Winery? It is #6 – 320 Stewardson Way, New Westminster, BC. Hope you have a chance to visit them. Tell them Karl at MyWinePal sent you!

Wine and Filipino Food Pairing

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} catch(err) {}Yesterday I held a Filipino food pairing with wines around the world. Filipino food is a cross of many cultures, primarily from Malay, Spanish, Chinese cultures. Foods are not typically spicy, but can have lots of vinegar and garlic (which are 2 ingredients that are hard to pair with wines). My other constraint was to find wines that were not too expensive, e.g less than CAD $20 a bottle.

I selected 3 whites, 3 reds, and 1 late harvest wine for the evening. The white wines were:
* Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling 2006 $16.49 USA (Washington)
* Santa Rita Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2008 $14.99 Chile
* Nk’mip Cellars Chardonnay 2007 $15.99 Canada (BC)

The 3 reds were:
* Mirassou California Pinot Noir 2006 $15.99 USA
* Inniskillin Okanagan – Reserve Merlot 2006 $16.99 Canada (BC)
* Wolf Blass Yellow Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 $17.99 Australia

The late harvest wine was:
* Sauvignon Blanc – Concha Y Toro Late Harvest 2005 $14.98 Chile

To the white wines I paired:
* Lumpia Shanghai (a deep fried egg roll with dipping sauce)
* Bihon Guisado(a dish made with thin noodles, mixed vegetables and pieces of pork)

To the red wines I paired:
* roast pork with liver sauce
* Chinese bbq duck (made with five spice powder)

The late harvest wine was paired with leche flan (an carmelized egg custard) A recipe for leche flan.

As I hoped the wines showed their varietal characteristics. Some wines were nice sippers on their own, such as the riesling, while others did not, such as the pinot noir. That being said, when we tried the wines with the food, some of the wines, such as the pinot noir paired wonderfully. I particularly liked the Chinese bbq duck with the pinot noir. The pinot really cut through the grease in the duck skin, plus the spices in the 5 spice powder used in the bbq duck brought out flavours in the pinot noir. The late harvest wine was also very tasty on it’s own, and with the leche flan.

I usually ask a group for their favourite white and red wine of the evening, but I decided to try something slightly different last night. I asked the women and the men separately for their favourite wines, and suprisingly they were both different. The women preferred the riesling and the pinot noir, while the men preferred the chardonnay and the cabernet sauvignon. I am going to have to try this at other tasting I host and see if this generally holds true.

I also had another wine to try which I had recently purchased from Pacific Breeze Winery; their 2006 Killer Cab ($22.90), but we ran out of time. I’ll have to save it for my next tasting. For those that are interested, this wine is medium purple/red in the glass, with black cherry and vanilla nose. Cassis, sweet fruit, black cherry liquor and spicy flavours. Nice round mouthfeel, medium tannins and long finish. A buy.

Either way, it was a fun evening had by us all.

A quick review of new wines to Vancouver

Last week I attended a Trade Tasting which shows off the new wines coming into the Vancouver, BC market. There were too many wines to try, which is good for everyone, giving us more choices. But without knowing what to pick to enjoy with your bbq or sushi, for example, could be a problem for you. So what were some wines that I think you should look out for? Here they are:

Elephant Hill Syrah, New Zealand, 2007, $25, spec (very smoky aroma, with smoky, cherry flavours and medium tannins)
Delas Cotes Du Rhone, France, 2007, $17.99, spec (another syrah. Cherry and licorice aroma. Cherry, licorice flavours with medium tannins)
Panther Creek, Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir, Oregon, 2006, $31.75 (a fuller bodied pinot noir. Blackberry and vanilla on the nose. Cocoa, orange peel and currant flavours. Smooth.)
Marques de Caceres Rioja Blanco, Spain, 2008, $15.99, spec (Citrusy, green aroma. Lively apple and citrus flavours.)
Pierre Sparr et Ses Fils, Riesling Selection, France, 06/07, $18.01 (Apple/petrol aroma. Petrol, citrus, apple flavour. Light/medium bodied.)
Anakena Single Vineyard Viognier, Chile, 2008, $16.95 (Apricot and ginger aromas. Good acidity. Apricot and ginger flavours continue on the palate.)

Stay tuned for my upcoming trip to Oregon. I’ll be trying lots of Pinot Noir and letting you know the gems I find. Enjoy!