Tasting Plates Vancouver Summer Edition – Get Your Tickets

If you like a bit of a restaurant crawl (similar to a pub crawl, but this one is food-based), then consider attending the Tasting Plates Vancouver Summer Edition.  Here are all the details you need to know, including participating restaurants, day and cost, from @vanfoodster ‘s press release.  Partial proceeds donated to support Project Limelight. I attended the February event and had fun. Enjoy!

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Vancouver Foodster presents “Tasting Plates Vancouver” – Summer Edition

Vancouver Foodster Tasting Plates Summer Edition

Vancouver, BC – Prepare to experience some of the newest and tastiest offerings on Wednesday, June 27, 2012 from 6 to 10 p.m. as Vancouver Foodster, Vancouver’s essential online food and drink guide, presents “Tasting Plates Vancouver” Summer Edition.

Participating restaurants will offer tasting plates of their food to the guests, thereby showcasing their restaurant and promoting their food and chefs.
The event is a roving tour that brings guests to the participating restaurants, cafes & food trucks, throughout the evening and they will walk, bike, transit, drive or car pool around East Van (Main Street, Fraser Street & Kingsway (between Main & Fraser) to the various participating restaurants.
Let your taste buds travel the city with Vancouver Foodster. Participating restaurants include:

More restaurants to be announced soon!

These are some of the tasty dishes to whet your appetite – offered at our previous event in February. and photos from our previous event in February.
Advance Tickets: $30 per person (eventbrite fee extra) before June 23, $100 for 4 pak of tickets (get a group of your friends/family together and save by purchasing a 4 pak (eventbrite fee extra) before June 23rd. *Regular Tickets $40 per person (eventbrite fee extra) after June 23 – ticket price includes tasting plates at each of the participating restaurants throughout the evening. A donation of $3 from each ticket purchased will go to support Project Limelight. (Beverages are included at some restaurants which will be noted, you are welcome to purchase wine, beer, cocktails or mocktails at each of the participating restaurants).

Note: ALL Tickets must be purchased in advance online. All ticket sales are final. No exchanges or refunds; however they are transferrable with printed proof of ticket.  Event produced by CMI Chat Media Inc
Tickets are available for purchase online only at http://tastingplatesyvrsummer.eventbrite.com/

Come and Enjoy Hart House’s 2011 Summer Garden Party Series

If you have never been to Hart House at Deer Lake in Burnaby, you should go.  The grounds are beautiful and the food is top quality.  If that is not enough incentive, Hart House is announcing their upcoming 2011 Summer Garden Party Series.  Here is there announcement below.  Enjoy!

Hart House at Deer Lake is pleased to announce the dates for our 2011 summer garden party series. Each evening starts with a casual wine tasting from the featured region, followed by an al fresco dinner on our estate lawn overlooking tranquil Deer Lake . Guests may purchase wine from a specially-selected wine list to pair with their food. Each event also features live music.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011 – Lobster Feast Join us as we celebrate the change of seasons with wine samplings, fresh Nova Scotia lobster, and festive Maritime music. $ 60.00 per person, plus taxes and gratuity

Wednesday, July 13, 2011 – Italian Garden Party Wines from Italy and a Mediterranean menu will make this relaxed midsummer evening one to remember. Stroll through our estate lawns & flower gardens at the height of their glory. $52.00 per person, plus taxes and gratuity

Wednesday, August 13, 2011 – Provence Combining Old and New World pleasures, this event features French wines paired with French-inspired cuisine made with fresh ingredients from the local countryside. $52.00 per person, plus taxes and gratuity

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 – Spain Enjoy top Spanish wines and local seafood prepared with a Spanish flair at this celebration of Spain ’s culinary heritage. $52.00 per person, plus taxes and gratuity

Reservations are available by phone only at 604-298-4278. Hart House at Deer Lake 6664 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby

Sangria for Summer!

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Author: TamorlanSummer is just around the corner, your patio furniture is coming out. You need something refreshing to drink. How about sangria?

If you have never had a glass of sangria, it is a mixture of sliced fruit, wine, and club soda or other sparkling water. The wine can be white or red, so make a pitcher of each if you are having a party on your patio. Sangria, from Spain, works well with tapas, so try to put together a few classic Spanish tapas, such as grilled prawns with garlic in oil, potatoes in spicy tomato sauce, grilled sausages, olives, cheese, and more.

White Sangria Recipe

  • 1 bottle of a light, unwooded white wine, like Casal Garcia Vinho Verde or a Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio.
  • 1 sliced lemon
  • 1 sliced lime
  • 1/2 sliced orange
  • 1/2 chopped red delicious apple
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Dissolve the sugar with a bit of the wine in a pitcher.  After the sugar is dissolved, add the chopped fruit. Pour the remaining bottle of wine into the pitcher, then refrigerate overnight, if possible, otherwise give it a few hours.  The next day add a few ice cubes to a glass, fill the glass 1/2 way with sangria, and fill the other half with the soda water / sparkling water. Enjoy.  If you like peaches, you could use them instead of the apple or orange pieces.

Red Sangria Recipe

  • 1 bottle of an inexpensive red wine (try a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Tempranillo. Check wines from Chile or Spain)
  • 1 shot of brandy (optional)
  • 1 sliced lemon
  • 1 sliced lime
  • 1/2 sliced orange
  • 1/2 chopped red delicious apple
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

As you can see the ingredients are very similar to the white sangria.  So are the preparations. Dissolve the sugar with a bit of the wine in a pitcher.  After the sugar is dissolved, add the chopped fruit. Add a shot of brandy (optional). Pour the remaining bottle of wine into the pitcher, then refrigerate overnight, or at least a few hours.  The next day add a few ice cubes to a glass, fill the glass 1/2 way with sangria, and fill the other half with the soda water / sparkling water. Enjoy.  If you like peaches, you could use them instead of the apple or orange pieces.

Enjoy these two sangria with friends and with food!

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.

Hart House’s Summer Garden Parties

Sometimes I hear about events at various restaurants with food and wine. Here is a case in point. Burnaby’s Hart House is a beautiful heritage home at Deer Lake Park. They have just released their Summer Garden Parties announcement. You may want to partake, and you may bump into me at one of them. Enjoy!

Burnaby’s Hart House at Deer Lake is pleased to announce the dates for our summer garden party events. Each garden party starts with a casual tasting of wines from the evening’s featured region, held in Hart House’s elegant gardens. Guests may then purchase wines from the evening’s specially-selected wine list to pair with the al fresco dinner that follows. Live music and a spectacular view of Deer Lake will add to diners’ enjoyment of the evening.

The 2009 summer event schedule includes:

Lobster Supper – Wednesday, June 17
Fresh Nova Scotia lobster is the life of our annual Maritime-infused party.
Wine sampling and live music help make this event a great way to welcome in the summer.

Italian Garden Party – Wednesday, July 22
Our classic Italian Garden Party features Mediterranean cuisine paired with premium Italian wines. Guests are welcome to stroll around the beautiful Hart House estate lawn and gardens.

Evening in Provence – Wednesday, August 19
This is a celebration of the culture and flavours of Provence , France . A sampling of French wines in our gardens is followed by a dinner featuring Provence-inspired cuisine.

California Experience – Wednesday, September 9
California’s world-class wines have earned a prominent place on the world stage in recent years. Here’s your chance to sample some of California ’s best, paired with exceptional cuisine.

All events start at 6:00pm. Reservations will be accepted starting May 21, 2009.

Reservations by phone only at 604-298-4278 www.harthouserestaurant.com

What am I drinking today?

Well it is summer, so you would think a nice, crisp white wine, or maybe i’m a contrarian and would go for a big red (maybe with some BBQ), but you would be wrong on both counts. Today I am sipping on the 2007 Mission Hill 5 Vineyards Rose from Westbank in the BC Okanagan. Rose is becoming more fashionable. I have seen greater numbers of roses on store shelves and in restaurant lists over the past 2 years here in Vancouver. Rose is actually produced from red grapes, the only difference between a rose and a red wine is the length of time that the skins stay in contact with the juice during fermentation. Depending on the winemaker this could be 16-22-24 hrs or more. But the longer the skins are in the fermentation vessel, the more colour comes out, plus tannin (the stuff that makes your mouth feel dry).

The rose I am drinking today is a blend of varietals: pinot noir and merlot. This wine has a nice strawberry aroma with a tinge of orange on the palate. Not too heavy. Would be nice with some grilled salmon, or a lightly flavoured cheese. Enjoy.