Wild Rice Celebrates Year of the Snake With Special Menu

Year of the Snake

Year of the Snake

Chinese New Year is coming up fast.  I’m starting to look at my annual wines to serve for Chinese New Year.  That post should be coming out soon.  But in the meantime, you may want to think about enjoying some celebratory dinners for Chinese New Year.  If you don’t want to cook, you could try the Year of the Snake Menu at Wild Rice, at both their New Westminster and Vancouver locations.  Here is their menu announcement.  Enjoy!


Wild Rice Vancouver

Wild Rice Vancouver

(Vancouver, BC) –  In western culture, the snake has a bad rep – tempter of Eve, denizen of the underworld, and just generally a slimy, slithery, creepy reptile. However, in China, the snake is honoured as wise, charming and decisive. As the snake transforms and renews itself by sloughing off its skin, Snake Years are seen as times of change and renewal. Things don’t stay static in The Year of the Snake.

Chinese New Year’s Eve on February 9th, heralds the Year of the Water Snake or lunar year 4711.  Anyone, who has been counting New Years for that long, should know a thing or two about how to celebrate it in grand style.

Inspired by classic Chinese feasts, Wild Rice Proprietor Andrew Wong and Executive Chef Todd Bright are offering a special menu that pays homage to the Year of the Water Snake. The Year of the Snake Menu will be available at both locations February 8, 9 and 10 for the auspicious price of $38.88 for two people (a very lucky number symbolizing ever-increasing good luck).

Year of Snake Platter

Year of Snake Platter

As in traditional Chinese banquets, each dish is rich with symbolic meanings meant to convey wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous year. Some of the symbolism is based on homonyms where the word for a dish or ingredients sounds like another Chinese word with an auspicious meaning. Others derive their symbolic connotations from the colour or the fact that they look like another good luck object.  Wild Rice’s Year of the Snake Platter for Two is over-flowing with good wishes and great flavours. On it you’ll find:

  • BBQ Eel and Bean Sprout Sui Mai with watercress puree. Eel has always been considered a ‘snake of the sea,’ so it’s most appropriate that it is the first dish served in the Year of the Water Snake. Bean sprouts convey the wish for a ‘good start to the new year’ while the fresh green of the watercress connote thoughts of growth, renewal and balance
  • Glass Noodles with black moss, water chestnuts and crispy dried tofu. Noodles in Chinese culture convey the wish for long life. It is considered very back luck to cut noodles as that symbolizes cutting short the life span. Black moss (‘fat choy’) sounds like ‘fat cai’ meaning increasing wealth while the word for ‘water chestnuts’ sounds like the word for ‘unity.’ Dried toufu connotes ‘blessing the household’ and ‘fulfillment of wealth and happiness.’
  • Roasted Chicken Breast on Cabbage Rolls Stuffed with Cashews accompanied by bamboo shoots, green onions, jasmine rice and walnuts with shitake jus. The chicken breast is a bit of fun in homage to the western expression that ‘snake tastes just like chicken.’ The roasted crispy skin is symbolic of the sloughed snake skin. Cabbage rolls are stuffed packets and similar in shape to ancient Chinese gold ingots so they symbolize ‘prosperity’ as do the cashews and the bamboo shoots. Green onions signify ‘intelligence,’ rice symbolizes ‘fertility’ while the shitake mushroom symbolize ‘longevity. ‘ Walnuts express the wish of ‘happiness for the entire family.’

All Chinese New Year banquets end on a sweet note to wish participants sweetness in the coming year and this dinner is no exception. Chef Bright has created his own house-made version of the iconic Fortune Cookie.

Wild Rice is also featuring a special drink – the Red Envelope Cocktail. During Chinese New Year, children traditionally receive gifts of money tucked into red envelopes (lai see). Wild Rice’s Red Envelope is strictly for grown-ups – a lucky combination of raspberry vodka, vodka, cassis, cranberry juice, fresh lemon all for the auspicious price of $6 (the number six sounding like the word for ‘good luck’).

People born in the Year of the Water Snake are influential and insightful. They are motivated and intellectual; very determined and resolute about success. The long list of famous Snakes is studded with beautiful women and great idealists. Snakes are uncommonly attractive, wise and intense. However, their beauty can lead to vanity and self-centredness.

According to an ancient Chinese proverb “good fortune of the mouth is no mean thing.” We invite you to give your palate a treat and your year a lucky ‘sssstart’ by ‘ssssavouring’ Wild Rice’s Year of the Snake Menu February 8th through 10th, 2013.

Reservations are a good idea at www.wildricevancouver.com or 604-642-2882 (Vancouver) or 778-397-0028 (New Westminster).

Sun Nin Fei Lok!

Celebrate with Dinner at Le Parisien on New Year’s Eve

Le Parisien LogoAre you in a French state of mind? I think my brain has been thinking about French food, wine, and travel for quite a while.  I recently received this announcement about a special New Year’s Eve dinner at Le Parisien downtown.  Here it is for you to enjoy! Don’t forget to open a bottle of Champagne too.  I love the entire menu, especially the smoked quail.


New Year’s Eve Tasting Menu

Lobster Bisque
Cognac Crème Fraîche


Smoked Quail, Squash Croquette, Celeriac Salad
Honey and Thyme Vinaigrette


Grilled Beef Tenderloin Medallions
Smoked Potato Fondant, Braised Winter Greens, Roasted Shallots and Bone Marrow Sauce


Lemon Mousse
Candied Pistachio, Dark Chocolate Tuile, Raspberry Coulis

45.00 / Person

Like us on our Facebook page for menu updates and information other special.

Le Parisien
751 Denman St. Vancouver, BC V6G 2L6 | Tel: (604) 687.1418

My New Year’s Resolution for 2013 – C’est le français

Moules au camembert

Moules au camembert

I’m pretty good at keeping New Year’s resolutions.  Some that I have made that I’ve kept have been to exercise regularly, and to have a glass of wine a day if possible.  Both are good for your health.

For 2013, my resolution, or maybe better described as a “goal” is to visit monthly at least 1 French restaurant  located here in the Vancouver lower mainland that I can in 2013, and to blog about it.

Why French Restaurants?

I’ve travelled twice to France and have fallen in love with their food.  Probably the best meal in my life was in a small restaurant in Chenonceau located in the Loire Valley. In addition, I have been a lover of French wine, in particular Burgundy and Loire wines.  So visiting French restaurants and enjoying my meal with French wine, seems like a perfect pairing to me! How does that sound to you?


Coq au vin served with a glass of Bordeaux wine

Coq au vin served with a glass of Bordeaux wine

The restaurants that are currently on my to visit list are:

  • Le Gavroche
  • Le Bistro Chez Michel
  • The French Table
  • Les Faux Bourgeois
  • Jules Bistro
  • Bistro Pastis
  • Le Crocodile
  • Le Parisien

As you can see I have 8 listed.  That leaves room for 4 restaurants which you can suggest for me to visit.  Please post your comment as to which additional French restuarant I should visit and what is your favourite dish from that restaurant.  Merci Beaucoup and Bonne Année et Bonne Santé!

Chinese New Year, the Year of Golden Rabbit. Wine to serve?

February 3, 2011 is Chinese New Year.  This will be the Year of the Golden Rabbit, (which is my sign BTW).  The Rabbit is a lucky sign. According to Chinese tradition, the Rabbit brings a year in which you can catch your breath and calm your nerves. I think enjoying a glass of wine every day would be a great way to calm your nerves and support your inner bunny.  With that my innate curiosity got the best of me, so I started to search for all rabbit-related wines that I could find on the web.  Here is what I was able to identify.

Wines that are available in BC:

  • French Rabbit Cabernet Sauvignon 1 L (some smart bunnies drink boxed wine) – France
  • Rock Rabbit Sauvignon Blanc 750 mL USA Central Coast
  • Rock Rabbit Shiraz 750 mL USA Central Coast
  • French Rabbit Pinot Noir 2005 1.0L France Languedoc
  • French Rabbit Chardonnay 1 L Boxed Wine Tetra France
  • California Rabbit Hopping Red 2009

And a few wines that may be in BC at some specialty shops, but likely across the border in WA state if you are up for a short trip.

  • Rudolf Müller 2007 Riesling (has a rabbit on the label)
  • Hip Chicks Do Wine Wine Bunny Blanc, Wilamette Valley, Oregon
  • Hip Chicks Do Wine Wine Bunny Rouge, Wilamette Valley, Oregon
  • Hip Chicks Do Wine Wine Bunny Blush, Wilamette Valley, Oregon

I found MANY wines from Rabbit Ridge in California.  It seems they have a population explosion of wines:

  • Rabbit Ridge 2008 Paso Robles Grenache Róse
  • Rabbit Ridge 2009 Paso Robles Allure de Robles
  • Rabbit Ridge 2005 Paso Robles Bunny Cuvee
  • Rabbit Ridge 2009 Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Rabbit Ridge Sarah’s Syrah
  • Rabbit Ridge 2009 Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Rabbit Ridge 2009 Paso Robles Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Rabbit Ridge 2005 Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon- Reserve
  • Rabbit Ridge Le Lapin Clairveaux (Rhone Style Red Wine Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre)
  • Rabbit Ridge 2009 Central Coast Merlot
  • Rabbit Ridge Le Lapin NV Paso Robles Merlot
  • Rabbit Ridge Le Lapin NV Paso Robles Multiplicity red blend
  • Rabbit Ridge 2005 Paso Robles No Worries
  • Rabbit Ridge Le Lapin NV Paso Robles Petite Sirah
  • Rabbit Ridge 2006 Paso Robles Pinot Noir
  • Rabbit Ridge Le Lapin Speed Bump (Tempranillo, Alicante red blend)
  • Rabbit Ridge 2005 Paso Robles Syrah- Côte Rôtie Style Reserve
  • Rabbit Ridge 2009 Central Coast Zinfandel
  • Rabbit Ridge Le Lapin NV Paso Robles Zinfandel
  • Rabbit Ridge 2009 Paso Robles Estate Zinfandel
  • Rabbit Ridge 2007 Paso Robles Estate Zinfandel- Reserve
  • Rabbit Ridge 2009 Central Coast Chardonnay
  • Rabbit Ridge 2008 Paso Robles Chardonnay
  • Rabbit Ridge Le Lapin Chardonnay
  • Rabbit Ridge 2009 Mystique de Robles (Sauvignon Blanc,Chardonnay, Grenache Blanc, Pinot Gris)
  • Rabbit Ridge Le Lapin NV Ingenuity (Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Grigio)

I’ve seen Rabbit Ridge in WA state at many stores, but have not bought any yet.  I’m curious to try their Le Lapin Clairveaux, Rabbit Ridge 2005 Paso Robles Syrah- Côte Rôtie Style Reserve, and Le Lapin NV Ingenuity (Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Grigio). On my next trip, hopefully before Feb 3, 2011, I plan on trying some Rabbit Ridge and bringing some back with me so I can celebrate the Chinese New Years with my friends.

What food to pair with these wines?  Well, seeing that it is the Year of the Golden Rabbit, and rabbits are lucky, I would not want to ruin my luck by cooking up a bunny.  So I’m going to suggest that you can pair the above wines with anything but bunny!  A chocolate bunny with the grenache, merlot, or a red blend could be nice though.

Gung hey fat choy.

Caviar and Champagne for New Years Eve?

Last year I made this original post and thought that it would be of interest to you for this upcoming New Years eve.  I’ve added some additional text and champagnes for you.  Hopefully you will be able to find these more recent sparkling wines.

I recently watched The Social Network and thought if I was Mark Zuckerberg, what could I have for New Years eve with my friends?

I think the ultimate indulgence would be sturgeon caviar from the Caspian Sea and vintage French champagne. The four most prized caviar are the Beluga, Osetra, Sevruga, and Sterlet. I did a quick check on the internet and saw that the price for Osetra caviar is around US$500 for 2 oz.  2 oz of Sevruga caviar is US$400.  2 oz of Beluga caviar is US$350.

How to Serve Caviar?

I’m not a caviar expert, so I checked with www.igourmet.com. This is their recommendation: “To allow the delicate flavor of the caviar to come through, serve the caviar on a plain base, such as the traditional buckwheat blini. Plain crackers, toasted brioche, or challah bread are all perfect substitutes. You can then top with a small dollop of crème fraiche on the blini, then add the caviar. For the purist, just enjoy the caviar by the spoonful will no adornment, pressing the eggs against the roof of your mouth with your tongue until they pop.

On the subject of serving Caviar, never use metal. The delicate nature of Caviar is so fragile that using a metal bowl or spoon will give the caviar an “off” flavor of a metallic tang. In haut cuisine, Caviar should be served in a bowl made of ice with a pearl or bone spoon. If you don’t have the luxury of such serving wear, glass will work fine. If all else fails, use plastic before you ever consider using metal serving ware.”

Fish may shine though with a squirt of lemon, but do not apply acidic liquids to caviar, as this can neutralize any flavor…”

If you cannot afford sturgeon caviar (yet), you can try salmon or trout caviar this New Years eve.  Being in Vancouver, I think salmon caviar should be really easy to find.

Champagne for Caviar

Assuming you have your 2 oz of beluga caviar to share with a friend(s), which champagne to enjoy it with?  Most champagne is non-vintage.  It is a blend of wines from different years, bottled and fermented a second time.  The blending of different vintages allows Champagne houses to design a house style, which people enjoy.  James Bond‘s favorite champagne house is Bollinger.  Some champagne is labelled “Blanc de blanc” and is made solely from Chardonnay grapes.  Other champagne may be labelled “Blanc de noir” and would be made with Pinot Noir and maybe Pinot Meunier.  Blended champagnes are usually a mix of wines from all three grapes varieties.

From what I’ve read about champagne and caviar pairings, the saltier the caviar, the younger and fresher the champagne to pair with it.  The bone dry finish of a champagne can stand up to the complex oily, fishy and salty flavors of caviar.  As a champagne ages, it mellows and brings on it’s own flavours and character, so choose a less salty caviar.

Doing a quick check at www.everythingwine.ca, I came up with the following French champagne:

Armand de Brignac Brut Champagne 750 ml Sparkling $399.99
Billecart-Salmon Cuvee Nicolas Francois Brut 1998 750 mL Sparkling $225.99
Bollinger Special Cuvee Champagne 750ml Sparkling $74.99
Champagne Boizel Brut Reserve 750ml Sparkling $91.99
Champagne Salon96/97 Le Mesnil Blanc de Blanc 750ml Sparkling $424.99
Cordon Rouge Brut (Mumm) Champagne 750ml Sparkling $58.99
De Venoge Cordon Bleu Brut Select 200mL Sparkling $21.99
De Venoge Cordon Bleu Brut Select Sparkling 750 mL Sparkling $57.99
Delamotte Blanc de Blanc Champagne 750ml Sparkling $78.99
Delamotte Rose Brut Champagne 750ml Sparkling $86.99
Deutz Brut Classic NV Champagne 750 mL Sparkling $64.99

There are many more. There was 101 sparkling French wines listed from my query. Some are not Champagne from the 101, and could be a cheaper alternative. A Cremant would be something you may want to select.

Some champagne and sparkling wines that I’ve rated last year:

Cuillier Pere et Fils,  Brut Selection (France)  Pinot Noir / Chardonnay  NV.    Fine bubble with green apple and pear aromas. Fine bubble with lemon and pear flavour. This wine was like enjoying a fresh pear. Very tasty!

Moreson  Blanc de Blancs Brut Method  Cap Classic (South Africa)   Chardonnay  NV.    A very fine bubble. Red apple, citrus, light spice and bready flavour. It had a long finish. Nice.

Codorniu Sparkling Brut (Spain) Pinot Noir NV.   Light orangy pink in colour. Light strawberry aroma. Very bracing in your mouth, with strawberry and raspberry flavours.

Villa Rinaldi Rose di Barriciaia 1998 (Italy). This is a Pinot Noir based sparkling wine that has some oak aging. Peachy, orange colour in the glass. Nutty, lemony and creamy / lees on the palate. Very small, fine bubbles.

A few favourite Champagnes and other sparkling wines from this year:

  • Perrier Jouet Grand Brut N/V, France. This is also a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  Pale lemon in colour.  Light lees and toast on the nose. Light body with apples and white fruit.  Small bubbles with lower acidity.  I really enjoyed this one in part due to the lower acidity which made this Champagne very easy to drink on its own.
  • Bastianich Flor Prosecco, Italy ($19.99).  A delightful wine with melon and lychee aromas. Off dry, light body, with cinnamon, citrus and peach flavours.  Small bubble.  This is such a fun wine. Start a party with this wine.
  • Champagne de Venoge Cordon Bleu Brut Select NV, France ($62.99). This Champagne is a blend of 2/3 PinotNoir and Pinot Meunier (both red grapes), and 1/3 Chardonnay. Light lemon in colour.  Nice medium toasty nose.  Medium acidity and body.  Citrus, some spice and toasty flavours on the palate.
  • Oyster Bay Sparkling Cuvee Brut N/V, New Zealand ($24.99). I was really surprised by this wine.  It won me over with it’s fresh fruit flavours. Light citrus and stone fruit on the nose.  Lots of flavour in your mouth with citrus, lime, kiwi fruit, and herbal flavours. Small bubble with medium acidity.
  • Schramsberg Vineyards Blanc de Blanc, 2008, California. Light lemon colour.  Vanilla and spice on the nose.  High acid with small bubbles.  Lemons and green apples greet your tongue. A very nice, elegant dry sparkling wine.
  • Roederer Estate L’ermitage 2002. This sparkling wine is made by the famous Roederer Estate Champagne house from France. It is a blend of 52% Chardonnay and 48% Pinot Noir. Pale lemon in colour.  Toast, lees, and caramel aromas. Tiny bubbles in the glass.  High acidity with lots of citrus flavour and some toastiness on the finish.  Nice.
  • Lucien Albrecht Cremant d’Alsace Brut Rose, France ($24.99). This Cremant is produced from the Pinot Noir grape. Watery pink colour. Light strawberry aroma. High in acid with small bubbles.  Dry with apple, cherry and strawberry flavours to tickle your tongue.  Elegant.  Easy to enjoy.

Enjoy and have a prosperous New Year!

can stand up to the complex oily, fishy and salty flavors of caviar

Free Sparkling Wine and New Years Party Favors

How would you like to enjoy some free sparkling wine and New Years Party favours on Dec 29?  A few days before New Year’s Eve, but it’s meant to get you in the spirit, to get you to try some sparkling wine, and maybe buy some for your New Years Party.  Here is a press release I received.  Enjoy!

Henkell Bubbly in the Spotlight at “Practice” New Year’s Party

For Immediate Release

December 2, 2010 (Vancouver, BC) – Put on your dancing shoes and tune up your noisemaker:  New Year’s Eve is just around the corner!  In preparation for the big event, join us for a “practice” party featuring Henkell sparkling wines on Wednesday, December 29 2010Guests at the 39th & Cambie BC Signature Store will enjoy complimentary samples of Henkell Brut and Rosé in a festive atmosphere that will be a great warm-up for the year’s end.

Sparkling wines are synonymous with celebration, and Henkell’s bubblies are always a popular choice because they provide exceptional value.  The event on December 29th is a great chance to taste the Henkell Brut and Rosé in advance of your New Year’s Eve celebration on the 31st.

Guests will enjoy complimentary sparkling wine samples along with party music, a disco ball, party hats and blowers, and a New Year’s Eve countdown every half hour.  Each guest will also receive a small gift for participating in this “dry run” for the big day.  So join us as we get ready to say goodbye to 2010 and welcome in the New Year!

The best-selling sparkling wine in Canada, Henkell’s tradition-rich cellar from Wiesbaden, Germany, was founded in 1856 and is one of the world’s best known and most prestigious producers. Today Henkell Trocken is synonymous with German sparkling wine in more than 80 countries.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010
4:00 – 7:00pm
39th & Cambie BCLDB Signature Store
5555 Cambie Street, Vancouver