Enjoy Drinks and Tasty Dishes at Joe Fortes Rooftop Patio

Patio season is well underway in Vancouver. But have you ever considered enjoying the city view from a rooftop patio in downtown Vancouver? If not, give Joe Fortes on Thurlow, just off of Robson, a chance. I attended their patio kickoff recently, and they had great food from seafood and chicken tacos, oysters on the half shell, and other varieties of seafood. In addition they have a bar on the rooftop patio, so enjoy a glass of wine, or a glass of sparkling wine, beer, or other drink along with the great food. Below are a few pictures of the event to entice you.  I was sipping Segura Viduas Reserva Cava, Spanish sparkling.  It goes very well with seafood.   Enjoy the summer!

Joe Fortes: Crab legs prawns mussels oysters lobster and tuna for the taking

Joe Fortes: Crab legs prawns mussels oysters lobster and tuna for the taking

Joes Gold special oysters

Joes Gold special oysters

Two tacos from Joe Fortes rooftop patio

Two tacos from Joe Fortes rooftop patio


Tasting Plates Vancouver Fall Edition – A Real Cultural Mix

The latest Vancouver Foodster Tasting Plates Vancouver Fall Edition was last week, November 21.  It was the most diverse tasting of food since the Tasting Plates started IMHO.  There were 2 Chinese Tea shops, Moroccan cuisine, a raw oyster bar, a funky night club, a pizza food truck, and more chocolate (you can never have enough chocolate tasting), amongst other venues.  Here are my favourites of the night.

The Electric Owl

This night club on Main Street was quite surprising with their Asian inspired cuisine.  I thougth their Mini Eggplant Sub (a take off of a Vietnamese sub) was very tasty.  I liked the crunchy sub bun.  Lots of flavour, and not too spicy.  Also the Fukuro burger sliders were super ppoular.  I like the wasabi slaw that gave the burger some heat.  And the Mini Sakana Chipu, a Grey Goose battered ling code bite was done right; crispy and not greasy.

Fukuro burger slider from Electric Owl

Fukuro burger slider from Electric Owl

Grey Goose battered ling cod bite from Electric Owl

Grey Goose battered ling cod bite from Electric Owl

Mini eggplant sub from Electric Owl

Mini eggplant sub from Electric Owl

Harvest Community Foods

It started out as a cool night, so walking into Harvest Community Foods, with their steam filled windows was welcome.  They served a bone warming ramen with Fraser Valley pork shoulder and SOLE food radish.

Ramen with Fraser Valley pork shoulder from Harvest

Ramen with Fraser Valley pork shoulder from Harvest

East of Main Cafe

How many Moroccan restaurants can you name in Vancouver?  Well now you can say 1 for sure with the East of Main Cafe.  They offered a tasting plate containing:

  • Kefta skewer with spicy tomato sauce (I liked the tomato sauce)
  • Onion Soup (another bone warmer, with lots of flavour, and not salty as some onion soups can be)
  • Spanish torta with mojo sauce (I think my favourite of the items here. The mojo sauce had a nice smoky flavour to it)
  • Spiced almond labneh with preserved lemon and herb salsa on a pita chip
Tasting plate from East of Main Cafe

Tasting plate from East of Main Cafe

Oyster Express

You can never go wrong with getting a fresh local beach oyster on the half shell, with a squeeze of lemon!

Fresh beach oysters from Oyster Express

Fresh beach oysters from Oyster Express

The Chinese Tea Shop

This was very interesting.  As each wave of people entered the shop, we w0uld sit down and learn a bit about brewing tea the Chinese way.  I learned much about special clay tea pots, and size does matter (the smaller the better btw). Also the temperature of the water matters depending on which type of tea you are serving.  We tried the Cloud Mist Green tea (served at a cooler temperature) and a Mini Tao Black Pu-erh tea (at a higher temperature).

The Chinese Tea Shop

The Chinese Tea Shop

Pazza Rella Pizza Food Truck

This was my last stop of the evening.  I was stuffed like a calzone, but had to try a slice of pizza from their wood fired oven.  My slice was from a Margherita pizza, a blend of olive oil, garlic, fresh basil, fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.  Nice thin crispy crust and flavourful toppings.

Pazza Rella wood burning pizza oven

Pazza Rella wood burning pizza oven

Beta 5

Last but not least was dessert for the evening.  Beta 5 offered a do-it-yourself hot chocolate milk.  They served you a steaming cup of milk, and your choice of a stick containing a block of milk or dark chocolate.  I went the dark chocolate route.  It was very filling.  They also had assorted candies anda  seasonal creampuff too.

Seasonal cream puff from Beta 5

Seasonal cream puff from Beta 5

My Experience with Alta Bistro Concierge Menu $19 for 3 courses

On a recent trip up to Whistler, I stopped at Alta Bistro, at the recommendation of Cassandra Anderton aka @goodlifevancouver. I checked their website and saw that they have a Concierge 3 course menu for $19.  The food overall is very good in my opinion.  The dishes have a French flair to them, but still left me a little hungry at the end of the meal.  My 3 courses were:

  • Oysters of the Day – 3 local oysters, served with verjus granite (+ $2 for this course)
  • Fresh Goats Cheese and Buttermilk Mousse – Squamish honey and toasted nut vinaigrette, house made lavash bread, golden beets
  • Pan Seared Yarrow Meadows Duck Breast – Textures of Heirloom carrots, Meyer lemon vinaigrette & lemon balm

Alta Bistro oysters, goats cheese buttermilk mousse, and Yarrow Meadows Duck breast

I think the oysters that evening were from Stellar Bay.  Maybe someone looking at the picture can tell me for sure which variety of oyster I enjoyed.  The oysters were plump and had a nice sea brine flavour.

My favourite dish, and the most creative was the fresh goats cheese and buttermilk mousse. Lots of flavours and texture.  The mousse had a healthy dose of citrus.

The duck breast was done to perfection.  Nicely pink, but I wish there was more than the 4 small cubes.

My glass of wine that I paired with these 3 courses was the Joie Farm, A Noble Blend 2011, a white wine blend of Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Auxerrios, and Schoenberger. Very aromatic and nice round mouthfeel.  Lychee, flowers, and citrus flavours.  A nice wine, and a nice pairing.

Overall I’d recommend going to Alta Bistro as their food is executed very nicely, but maybe do not go there if you are overly hungry.

Township 7’s Taste the Stars Valentine’s Affair!

Still thinking of what you can do memorable with your significant other for Valentine’s Day?  Something wine-related is always good.  Township 7, located in Langley, has two special seminars you might want to attend.  The first event about how to make a “champagne” style sparkling wine is FREE, while the other is a seafood and wine pairing at a reasonable $30 per person cost.  Here are the details.  Have a great Valentine’s Day celebration!

Saturday, February 12th, Seminar 1 & 3 PM, Dinner 7-10 PM

Join Township 7 for their Taste the Stars Valentine’s celebration on Saturday February 12 at their picturesque winery in Langley, just a 45 minute drive from Vancouver. For the first time this year, they are holding special seminars on méthode champenoise winemaking and sabrage, chocolate making, and seafood/wine pairing. Enjoy a decadent, entertaining and informative time and participate in the traditional French style of crafting champagne with Township 7 winemaker Bradley Cooper and proprietor Mike Raffan, learn how to make delectable truffles by Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut, and what pairs best with oysters on the half shell with 1 Fish 2 Fish. Partial proceeds from the Valentine’s activities will be donated to the Starlight Children’s Foundation.

The Delicate & Mad Art of Methode Champenoise

Discover how traditional handcrafted champagne is made in France and join Township 7’s proprietor and winemaker in the fun and sometimes messy and challenging process of dégorgement, then adding the dosage and corking of sparkling wine!
Complimentary winemaker seminars at 1 and 3 pm.

Taste the Stars Evening at Township 7

Impress your paramour and indulge your senses with an early Valentine’s celebration of fine wine, paired with raw oysters and seafood canapés. Enjoy live music by the popular local band, We Play for Wine, while you taste your way through two rooms featuring seafood delicacies by 1 Fish 2 Fish, enjoy winemaker Bradley Cooper’s discussion of wine food pairings and complete your visit in our romantic chocolate room with Jacqueline Pearson of White Rock’s Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut, rolling dark chocolate truffles.

$30 per person (grazing/non-seated)
21152 16th Avenue
Langley, BC V2Z 1K3

Aphrodisiacs and Wine for Valentines

With Valentine’s Day coming up in February, I thought I’d get a head start on this blog about Aphrodisiacs and Wine to help you decide your Valentine’s meal.  There are many different foods that have been touted to have some aphrodisiac component to them.  A few foods:

  • cheese (In European culture, cheese is said by some to resemble the scent of a woman.)
  • arugula (Is also known as “rocket seed”, with mustard warming a person, making better blood flow.)
  • truffles (It is said that sows instinctively seek out truffles, it’s because they give off scents identical to certain substances found in the male boars sexual organs – namely a pheromone “androstenol” with a strong musky smell. Androstenol is also secreted by men’s armpit glands.)
  • chocolate (Chocolate contains both a sedative, which relaxes and lowers inhibitions, and a stimulant to increase activity and the desire for physical contact.)
  • oysters (Oysters being the aphrodisiac, due to their shape similar to a woman’s genitals, but also as they contain zinc which which promotes well being.)
  • asparagus (The asparagus of course visually is a phallic symbol. also because according to traditional Indian medicine, it increases circulation in the genito-urinary system. Chinese traditionalists believe the roots increase compassion and love, so they save the best ones for their friends and family.)
  • chilies (Chilies get a person’s blood rushing, heart pumping, face flushing and pores sweating, providing great physical stimulation.)
  • strawberries (Strawberries gained their reputation as an aphrodisiac due to their large number of tiny seeds symbolizing fertility. In art and literature, the strawberry was usually portrayed as a symbol of sensuality and earthly desire and has been described as fruit nipples.)

Is wine an aphrodisiac?

Of course. Wine relaxes people’s thoughts. A moderate quantity of wine reduces a person’s anxiety and releases their inhibitions. In studies published from the 1994 British scientific journal, Nature, claimed that the intake of alcohol can increase the levels of libido in women. According to this research, alcohol raises the testosterone level of women, which can entice those who lack sexual interest and desire. Port wine is said to be one of the most aphrodisiac alcoholic beverages around. This drink, which originated in Portugal, is said to promote lovemaking especially when served with strawberries (from http://nepspeed82.blogspot.com/2007/05/wine-as-aphrodisiac.html).

Some suggested wine and aphrodisiac food pairings:

  • Wild Mushroom and Truffle Risotto paired with a Viognier or a New Zealand Pinot Noir.
  • Fresh Oysters with Red Wine Shallot Mignonette paired with a California or Chilean sparkling wine.
  • Arugula, Pine Nut & Chevre Pizza matched with a BC, New Zealand or Chilean Sauvignon Blanc.
  • Asparagus wrapped with smoked salmon & fresh basil paired with a Cabernet Sauvignon based Rose or a Pinot Noir.

Here are some specific wines that you may want to find either in a government liquor store or a private wine shop:

  • Stags Hollow Viognier, BC, 2010. This Viognier was pale in colour with some sweetness, orange, and flower aromas. Very pretty. Tropical fruit and cinnamon flavours.  Medium body.
  • Perrier Jouet Grand Brut N/V Champagne, France. This is 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 sparkling wine with melon and lychee aromas. Off dry, light body, with cinnamon, citrus and peach flavours.  Small bubble.  This is such a fun wine.
  • Mud House Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010, New Zealand.  Pale lemon in the glass.  Lots of gooseberry on the nose with some herbal on the nose that continued to the palate.  Medium plus acidity with long length.  Really nice flavour.
  • Vina Santa Rita Medalla Real Pinot Noir 2008, Chile. Santa Rita is a premium producer from Chile.  I really enjoy their wines, and spent time visiting them in Chile. Their Medalla Real Pinot Noir is coloured light purple in the glass.  Ripe cassis aromas. Round mouth feel, light boded with an abundance of cassis flavour.  Low tannins.
  • Bartier – Scholefield Rose, BC ($20) is 100% Gamay Noir from the Wise Brothers’ vineyard in Oliver. This wine was medium salmon colour in the glass.  Light, youthful aromas of strawberries, red cherries and other red fruits.  It is dry on the palate with medium plus acidity.  Medium body.  I get fresh summer fruits like raspberries, red currants, strawberries and red cherries, and a lingering watering mouthfeel on the finish.

If you want an extensive list of aphrodisiac foods, I’d suggest following the “Life of Reiley“.  Enjoy the pairings and I hope they bring great enjoyment for you and your significant other!

Valentine’s Day, Aphrodisiacs, and Wine

Valentine’s Day is coming up soon. A nice dinner with special wine and food with your significant other i’m sure would be greatly appreciated. But what wine and food to serve?

There are many foods that are purported to be an aphrodisiac:

  • oysters on the half shell,
  • asparagus,
  • cheese, and
  • chocolate.

There are more, but i’ll give you a bit of info on these and some pairings you may want to consider. Oysters are an aphrodisiac due to their shape similar to a woman’s genitals, but also because they contain zinc which which promotes well being. Try pairing oysters with some bubble. You may enjoy:

  • Moreson, Blanc de Blancs Brut Method Cap Classic, South Africa. This is 100% Chardonnay. A very fine bubble. Red apple, citrus, light spice and bready flavour. Long finish. Nice.
  • Cuillier Pere et Fils, Brut Selection Pinot Noir / Chardonnay, France. Fine bubble with green apple and pear aromas. Lemon and pear flavours. This wine was like enjoying a fresh pear. Very tasty!

The asparagus of course visually is a phallic symbol, and visual excitement can be part of being an aphrodisiac. Try pairing it with:

  • Cremaschi Furlotti Pinot Noir from Chile. A wonderful bouquet of violets. Light bodied with some acidity. The floweriness of the Pinot Noir grape is an aphrodisiac in itself.
  • Miguel Torres Cabernet Sauvignon Rose, also from Chile. This one has a bouquet of cherries, which continues on the palate. Some spiciness and a balance of acidity with sweetness.

In European culture, cheese is said by some to resemble the scent of a woman. Italian culture views cheese as an aphrodisiac, much like chocolate. Some cheeses would be a fresh goat cheese, a brie/camembert, and maybe a bit stronger cheese such as a Quebec Oka. Remember that cheese right out of the fridge has little aroma. Leave the cheese out for a few hours so that it warms up and those aphrodisiac aromas can come out. A few wines:

  • Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rose from South Africa. Mulderbosch rose shows some typical cabernet flavours and aromas, but without the big tannins that one get with a red wine.
  • Amayna Sauvignon Blanc from Chile. Citrus and tropical fruit flavours with some oakiness on the bouquet due to barrel fermentation. The wine had a very round mouthfeel with just the right amount of acidity to cut through the fat in the cheese.

Chocolate contains both a sedative, which relaxes and lowers inhibitions, and a stimulant to increase activity and the desire for physical contact. A red wine and/or a dessert red wine would go well here.

  • Buller Old Fine Muscat, Rutherglen, Australia (dessert wine). Medium dark amber-coloured Muscat has aromas of toffee and marmalade. This Muscat has enough body and flavour to balance with the richness of chocolate (and chocolate cake)
  • Poplar Grove Merlot, British Columbia 2005. Light garnet in colour. Cherry, cassis and leather nose. Big cherry flavour with some vanilla. Medium tannin and length.

I find that the roundness and fruitiness of Merlot and it’s softer tannins make it a nice varietal to pair with chocolate. In my opinion 72% cocoa is about the right amount of cocoa for me. When you get into the 90% range, it gets a bit gritty.

I hope you are able to find some inspiration in these suggestions. Enjoy Valentine’s Day!