My Bada Bing Food Truck Experience

Bada Bing Truck with menu

After a quick meeting downtown today, it was almost noon, so I decided to try a food truck.  Beside the Burrard Skytrain station was the Bada Bing truck. They proudly list that they make a chicken and a steak Philly Cheese sandwich.  I decided to go for the chicken this time.  The sandwich came on a foot-long bun, loaded with bite sized pieces of chicken in a light Middle Eastern flavoured sauce to me, along with lots of fried onions, and melted provolone cheese.  The sandwich was piping hot, the way I like it.  I didn’t try to add any extra condiments, but wished I did.  The sandwich was good, and filling, but there was no bright or sour flavours to complement the chicken & fried onions.  I think some dill pickle, or picked banana peppers would have been a great addition to the sandwich.  I will have to try next time.

What wine would I have with this Chicken Philly Cheese?  I think a juicy Gamay would be my first choice.  Not overly heavy bodied or too much dark fruit flavours.  A few gamays that I can recommend are:

  • Bada Bing Chicken Philly Cheese

    Henry Fessy Julienas 2009, France ($25.99). If you like lighter bodied reds, such as from Pinot Noir, you may also like this wine, which is made from the Gamay grape. Nice medium ruby colour. Light cherry nose.  Medium body with light tannins and medium acidity. Cherry flavours. Easy to enjoy.

  • Henry Fessy “St. Amour”, 2009, France ($24.99). This is a Beaujolais from the eastern part of France (south of Burgundy), made from the Gamay grape.  Pale ruby in colour.  Cherry bon bon nose. Light body and lower tannins.  Cherry flavour. Lighter in body than a Bordeaux, similar in weight to a lighter Pinot Noir.
  • Volcanic Hills Estate Winery Gamay Noir 2009, BC ($12.90).  An unbelievable price for a single varietal wine from the Okanagan. This is a nice light bodied wine that you can serve slightly chilled.  The wine was pale cherry in colour.  Restrained aromas of red cherry and red currants, and a hint of smoke. On the palate there was violets, roses, cherries, black pepper and a bit of spice.  Refreshing acidity and quite a long finish.

If you do not like red wine, try these white wines:

  • Stags Hollow Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc 2010

    Stags Hollow Viognier 2010, BC. This Viognier was pale in colour with some sweetness, orange, and flower aromas. Very pretty. Tropical fruit and cinnamon flavours.  Medium body.

  • Thornhaven Estates Winery Pinot Gris 2010, BC. I think there is something specific about the terroir for this wine that makes this Pinot Gris have a wonderful grapefruit nose and flavour.  I haven’t seen this in other Okanagan Pinot Gris. Pale lemon in colour with red grapefruit nose. Flowery with citrus, grapefruit flavours. Yum.
  • Monmousseau Cuvee JM Brut 2007, France ($19.99). This sparkler is made from 100% Chenin Blanc grapes. Light lemon in colour .  Light citrus with a hint of honey aromas.  Cinnamon greets your lips up front on the palate, followed with citrus and apple flavours.  Medium acid and length.  Very tasty.

I hope to have more time to visit other food trucks in downtown Vancouver this summer, and give you my wine pairing recommendations. Enjoy!

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A Galette to Remember at Restaurant la Sarrazine

Restaurant la Sarrazine in Blere

I love finding out of the way tiny cafes and restaurants that only the locals go to when I am on trips. You get unpretentious food served the way the locals enjoy it. Thus after visiting the Chenonceau castle in the Loire Valley, I drove to Restaurant la Sarrazine, a short drive away in the small French town of Blere. I found out about this restaurant as I had stumbled across a blogger who writes about the Loire Valley and his experiences living here. Sorry I don’t have the link to his blog at the moment, but hopefully I will find it upon arriving back home. He talked about how friendly the people were and how tasty his meal was. I was sold.

So here I am sitting in Restaurant la Sarrazine checking the menu.  The restaurant is filling up fast.  A few big tables are put together, so maybe there is an office lunch happening.  Everyone is very friendly.  Great atmosphere.

As always, the best deal is a Formule, where you get an entree (appetizer) and a plat principal (main course) or plat principal and dessert for a nice price. Sometimes the Formule also comes with a drink. Fortunately I did get a glass of brut apple cidre (from Normandy) with my Formule of plat principal and dessert. You can get apple cidre moelleux or brut (sweet or dry). It is a nice break from drinking beer or wine.

Galette with ham cheese egg and salad

My meal consisted of a galette followed by a dark chocolate crepe.

What is a galette?

It is a savory crepe made with buckwheat flour.  Mine had a filling of ham, an egg, cheese and cream.  Served with salad.  I had tried a gallete a few days ago at Le St. Romain in Rouen and enjoyed it so was looking forward to this one.  I was shocked though as to how much better this galette was!  The galette is quite thin and very crispy. Very easy to cut and enjoy.  The Le St. Romain galette was very hard to cut.  The crispiness of the galette went nicely with the creaminess of the galette and the acidity of the salad.  It is hard to describe so many wonderful flavours and textures coming together.  A bit of a symphony on the plate and in your mouth.

The crepe was also done with simplicity but great quality.  The crepe was soft, not crispy, and drizzled with hot, dark chocolate.  I savoured each bite, and left the restaurant not overstuffed, and ready for my next adventure down the street in the Loire.

Crepe with hot dark chocolate sauce

Take a chance on small restaurants when you are on your trip.  Talk to locals, or do some research on the web before you go.  I did and am so happy I tried Restaurant la Sarrazine.  Enjoy!

Some Loire Valley Wines Sans Review

As I passed through different towns in the Loire there would be one or more caves (places to taste wine). I would stop at some to try the wines for the area, but would not have my notebook at the ready, so no notes. The photos below are of the wines that I did try, but did not make any notes.

The wines will be primarily from the Chenin Blanc grape for the white wines, and the Cabernet Franc grape for the red. There may be a few wines that are Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Cot, or Gamay, which are also grown in the Loire Valley.

See if you have maybe tried these wines in your travels, or you have seen these wines in your local wine shop. Let me know if you have. I still have some mental impressions of each wine, so email or comment about a wine, and I’ll reply. Enjoy!

I also threw in a French word in the title.  Did you figure out it’s meaning?

Cave des Producteurs De Chanceny Brut Excellence Vouvray 2008

 

Cave des Producteurs La Javeline Vouvray 2009

Cave des Producteurs Vouvray Petillant Brut

Domaine de la Gabilliere, Sancerre Rouge, Pierre Sordais Chinon Tradition 2009

Domaine de la Grande Foucaudiere Touraine Sauvignon 2010

Domaine de la Prevole Touraine Amboise Cuvee de la Prevole 2008

Domaine Frissant Touraine Amboise Chenin

Would You Like Nice Bubble and More for Christmas?

Today is one of my favourite times of the year. The last Import Vintners & Spirits Association (IVSA) trade wine tasting typically has a lot of sparkling wine and other wines to taste in preparation for the Christmas season. I spent half of my time exclusively trying sparkling wines, and the other half of my time on white and red still wines. There was so much sparkling wine, that I could have easily spent my entire time tasting these wines.

As usual, I would like to pass along those wines that were very good in my opinion, so that you can purchase them either at a government or a private liquor store. Some are at a very good price (sub $20).

Recommended sparkling wines:
Pierre Paillard Grand Cru NV Brut (France). A blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. This wine is light peachy pink in colour. Bread and cherry aromas. Light small bubbles with lemon, cherry and apple flavours. Bready, citrus finish. Very nice.

Codorniu Classico Brut NV (Spain) $13.99. Pale lemon in colour. Lemon, yeast and slight petrol aroma. Fine bubble. Off dry with crisp acidity. Lemon and apple flavours. Medium length.

Hungaria Grande Cuvee Brut (Hungary) on sale $12.95 during Dec 2010. This is a very easy drinking sparkling wine from Hungary. Pale lemon in colour. Lychee, crisp apple nose. Light bubble with medium length. Apple and lemon flavours with a herbal finish.

J.G. Carrion Cristalino Cava Rosado Brut (Spain) on sale till Jan 2, 2011, $13.99. A mix of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Trepeat. Pale cherry colour with a light cherry nose. Cherry and raspberry flavours. Small bubble. Dry with a cherry finish.

Perle d’Aurore Cremant de Bourgogne Rose NV (France) $on sale till Feb 27, 2011, $23.95. Light salmon colour in the glass. Strawberry aroma. Strawberry and cherry flavour. Small, aggressive bubble in our mouth. Off dry. Very good.

Louis Roederer Brut Premier Champagne NV (France) $59.99. Bread and citrus on the nose. Very fine, small bubble. Dry on the palate. Lemon, oak, and almond flavour. Long finish. A very elegant Champagne.

Recommended white wines:
Teira Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Creek Valley 2009 (California). This is a small production organic wine producer. If you tasted this wine, you would not guess that it is a Sauvignon Blanc. You might guess Pinot Gris. This wine is medium lemon in colour. Peachy, lychee, and flowery aromas. Light to medium body, medium acidity with apple and some herbal flavour. Round mouth feel.

Kooyong Estate Chardonnay 2006 (Australia) $49.99. Light lemon colour. Oak, vanilla, butter and citrus on the nose. Round mouth feel. Apple, citrus and oak flavours. Medium body.

Trefethen Estate Chardonnay 2007 (California) $34.95. Light lemon with a green tinge colour. Light lemon, apple, and flowers on the nose. Round mouth feel with cinnamon flavour up front. Medium body. Apple and lemon flavours. Long length.

Recommended red wines:
Velletri Riserva 2004 (Italy), on sale till Nov 27, 2010, $17.99. This is a red wine from the Sangiovese grape. This may have been my favourite wine of the tasting, and it is at a great price. Medium cherry colour. An interesting nose with pencil leads and red cherries. Medium body, round mouth feel with smooth tannins.

Chanson Pere Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2007 (France) $26.52. Light cherry in colour.  Light strawberry and red cherry aromas.  Strawberry, raspberry, cherry and vanilla flavours.  Light body with low tannins. Very nice.

Chateau de Ferrand St. Emilion Grand Cru AOC 2003 (France) $39.99. This is a red wine from the right bank in Bordeaux.  It is a blend of 75% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Medium light garnet in colour. Nice vanilla, and red cherry nose.  Medium body with vanilla, ripe red fruit flavours.  The flavour builds in your mouth.  A wonderful wine.

Montresor Capitel della Crosara Appassimento IGT 2006 (Italy) $24.99.  This is a “ripasso” style wine, which is made by reserving wine made during the recent vintage then placing this wine on the pressed grape skins and lees in the vats used for Amarone and allowed to ferment further in contact with those skins, to acquire additional body and flavour. This wine was medium to dark garnet coloured in the glass.  Red cherry and vanilla on the nose.  Lots of fruit flavours on the palate, particularly raspberries and black cherry.  Medium body.

Purple Cowboy Tenacious Red 2006 (California) $19.99.  This is a fun red wine, made from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Medium purple colour.  Nice cherry and raspberry nose.  Full body with raspberry and black cherry flavours.  Firm tannins but not overpowering.  Purple fruit and cherry on the finish.

There were many more wines to taste, and I’m sure I could have recommended more.  You may notice that there are no BC wines listed.  The IVSA tasting is for new vintages, and new wines being brought into the BC market.  There are plenty of very good BC wines, but none were being poured at this event.  So please enjoy the wines I’ve listed, but don’t forget BC wines.

Blue Mountain Winery at Salt Tasting Room

On Monday evening I had the good fortune of being invited to a Blue Mountain Winery tasting at one of Vancouver’s hottest restaurants, Salt Tasting Room, in Gastown. Blue Mountain winery is located in Okanagan Falls and was established in 1991. It’s a family run business and it shows with the care they show with their wines. They are an Estate Winery which means all the grapes they use for their wines come from their vineyard (which they have 80 acres under vines, but only 60 acres producing grapes at the moment).

For those of you who have not been to Salt Tasting Room, they offer a range of cheeses and charcuterie and condiments to their guests. They have a wide range of wines to pair with these food, along with some beers.

This evening we were treated to three white and three red wines, paired with cheeses and charcuterie. The three white wines were the:
– Blue Mountain Brut (a sparkling wine made in the traditional champenoise style)
– Blue Mountain Pinot Blanc 2008
– Blue Mountain Pinot Gris 2007

The Brut is a blend of 47% Pinot Noir, 47% Chardonnay, and 6% Pinot Gris. Pale yellow in colour with a slight bubble around the edge of the glass. Light citrus, slightly sweet and a bit of lees on the nose. The bubble was quite fine, and had lemony, lees, and almond flavour. Quite nice. To this I enjoyed the Schinkenspeck sausage slices from Oyama the Savoury Moon cheese from BC and the Isle of Mull Cheddar from the UK.

The Pinot Blanc is whole cluster pressed and fermented in barrel (47%) and the remainder in tank. This wine had peach and lemon aroma (i was expecting apple, but i love suprises). There was a slight bit of effervesence, lemon and mineral flavours. Another enjoyable wine.

The final white, the Pinot Gris, is similarly fermented as the Pinot Blanc. The result is a wine with light aromas of stone fruit. A round mouthfeel with cherry and stone fruit flavours. Again something I was not expecting was the cherry flavour. Interesting.

For the red wines we were treated to the:
– Blue Mountain Gamay Noir 2008
– Blue Mountain Reserve Pinot Noir 2006

– Blue Mountain Reserve Pinot Noir 1997

The Gamay Noir was deep violet/purple in the glass. Very aromatic with dark cherry and cassis? aromas. On the palate it was peppery, black cherry and licorice with low tannins. It was nice with the Mike Vitow’s Corned Beef.

The Reserve Pinot Noir 2006, is a soft pinot noir. Light cherry and violet aromas and flavours. A bit astringent. It went nicely with the Avonlea Cheddar from PEI and the Piccantino and the Lamb Salamis from Oyama.

Our last wine of the night (and my favourite) was the Reserve Pinot Noir 1997. This wine had depth of character and was very defined in it’s flavours, like a laser beam. Deep red colour in the glass. A very interesting nose with cherries and mint. On the palate there was dark cherry, some spice and medium tannins. Long length. Excellent! I quite enjoyed this wine with the Saint Agur blue cheese from France. This is a creamy blue cheese, half way between a Stilton and a Cambazola.

If you have not been to Salt Tasting Room, it is located at 45 Blood Alley in Gastown. Enjoy.