Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by jamiemaw

  1. Recent experience has taught me that eating raw oysters whilst motoring is not without hazard, Melissa. First, there's the little issue with evacuating them from their shells. Second, where to lodge the condiment tray within safe reach? I won't stomach splotches of To Hell and Back ("It'll Hurt Ya Twice") hot sauce on my hand-loomed Wilton carpets. Last, while my new car enjoys a vast array of beverage holding opportunities, not one of them accomodates Riedels with anything approaching the security that Virgos require. And as you know only too well, to eat Kusshis and Effingham Bays without a decent Sancerre is like kissing your sister; the whole imbroglio quickly deteriorates into a piscine contest. But a recent trip to the dentist, where he installed a rubber dam to repair a bicuspid inopportunely cracked on a rabbit knuckle, really turned the headlamps on for me. Et Voila! Eva and I now cruise the byways and shorelines of British Columbia under a war surplus tent with headholes cut out and the condiments tray fastidiously decanted into squeeze bottles. Occasionally we stop for playful mignonette squirtgun fights, but always secure that our lambskins and hand-rubbed walnut woodworks are safe from foodborne incident. And instead of avoiding the kind of nuts that can get stuck in your craw, take the lead from me and just run 'em over. Or, I suppose, you can always invoke the Heneiken Manoeuvre. I hope this helps, Jamie
  2. I hope that all of the tourism authorities get way out ahead of only promoting vancouver and Whistler, and take a page from the cruise ship industry by promoting 'extended-stays' in the Okanagan and Vancouver Island. Although neither is at its most scenic in February, both are worth the journey. I also hope that wineries are complicit, and open their doors wide open in February, 2010. Cross-pollinating the total of packaged products, I think, is what will bring them back.
  3. Seriously, I would question if many big US chains are going to take a run. Many have come, run their due diligence and have left, primarily for three reasons: CFD is done very well here; our market is much more crowded, competitive and interestingly diverse than comparable, like-sized American cities; and their business model is attuned to much lower labour costs. Some have tried (Hooters, Planet Hollywood etc.) and have failed miiserably. Starbucks will continue to expand because both the financial covenant that they offer the landlord and the capital base they have to build quickly and in a cost-effective manner are secure. Anyone considering an investment solely based on two weeks of inflated revenues is necessarily a fool, and any investment more than a weenie cart based on that fortnight is foolish. What the Olympics are really about is the four-year (plus) draw of the media, organizers and spectators that will shine a broader light. Vancouver will continue to expand I think, but the enormous forthcoming expansion of Holt Renfrew into their new premises at Pacific Centre, and the advent of international retailers such as Tiffany's suggest that there's more afoot. If there were one precedent, I think it's probably Sydney, where a profuse and diverse (but newly-birthed) culinary culture was 'discovered". I think that's likely here as well. So where will the growth come from? And what will the dining style that we present to the world look like? If one current trend continues, I'd say that we'll have many more casually styled restaurants with accessible food but that are essentially liquor primary in their ambitions. In other words, the style of Chambar and Century may well define the higher arc of new dining. And I wouldn't expect many - if any - white tablecloth, fine dining restaurants from new operators. Although Pino may launch again in the Alberni/Thurlow area. Whistler is an enigma: very high fixed and labour costs, seasonal revenue base (or lack of it), and this year, decreasing winter revenues based on a poor Christmas start. Further, revenues have decreased over the past several years almost precisely in parallel with the gain in our dollar versus the US dollar. Because Americans will require passports to visit, and because Whistler's new driveway won't be finished until 2009, there's a lot of marketing to be done there in the next four years and I don't mean Cornucopia. I absolutely agree with Neil and Stephen that the main drag on expansion will be a critical labour shortage. Well, that and parking.
  4. What's evil with absolve? It's just gum zanthane (xanthan gum) which is a type of polysaccharide, and thusly closely related to starch and easily fermentable in the sewer. ← Nothing evil at all about Absolve, but rather the devil's work that brings it forth, especially in this unfortunate era of the fruit-driven 'martini'. Yours in absolution, J.
  5. The practice is still extant in leading drinking establishments of the European Union and the Commonwealth.
  6. Exactly right - the practice used to be common for odour control (the SI writer is clearly a callow youth) in restaurants, golf club locker rooms and better drinking establishments, but not at the gas station, because it also, as Daniel pointed out, announced that someone was paying attention and signified that you were in a place you couldn't afford. Of course that was in the days when many dining establishments still had bathroom attendents and before the environmental impact of dichlorobenzene urinal pucks had been considered. Urinal pucks are now verbotten in many school districts (perhaps for other reasons) and civic jurisdictions that have studied their impact. Sometimes evil things happen to men of the cloth. [scroll down to "What's your biggest fear?"] Want more evil? Here's the brochure copy for "Absolve", a product from (needless to say), Beaver Research: Absolve "Takes the dirty work out of cleaning up vomit, food spills, incontinency and other malodor sources. Instantly gels and binds liquid and semi-liquid accidents for quick and easy removal. Instantly deodorizes the accident with OCP formula. Instantly covers unsightly accidents. Gel safely flushes down toilets and drains. Biodegradable, environmentally safe and non-toxic."
  7. Perhaps we should start with geographic expansion. I see the areas that are likely for expansion as follows: 1. Crosstown: The advent of newly renovated condominiums on Beatty Street north of Georgia will likely draw a few new restaurants near Chambar and Wild Rice, especially if Ohlund and Salo recover from their Olympic injuries soon. 2. Downtown Eastside: If and when the Woodward's redevelopment gets moving, that anchor itself will likely add quite a few new F & B oulets to service both the university campus and residents. I think it will likely also revive the western fringes of Gastown, and Gastown itself. 3. North Yaletown The Wall and Concorde Pacific multi-tower developments are nearing completion and will launch several thousand new residents on the north end of Yaletown. Lucky Neil. 4. Alberni/Thurlow Nexus The Shangri-la (look for a large Japanese restaurant in the podium) development will anchor the Saltlik/Joe's prevailing wisdom, but at much higher commercial rents. 5. Cambie Corridor The Grosvenor Tower, The Montreux, The RAV station and ultimately, the development of the Olympic Village infrastructure, will see perhaps the greatest concentration of new F & B opportunities in this neighbourhood. But $30+ psf will look pretty attractive by 2010, and a distant memory. 6. South False Creek Extending eastward, the Olympic Village will have a stronger impact post-2010 as mixed use projects extend to Main and southward to link with the the Main and Broadway area, which is already active. 7. Granville Mall The redevelopment of the Capital Six into mixed use will provide linkage between Hornby/Burrard/Alberni and Yaletown. Should be much more lateral, crosstown pedestrian flow by 2010. Next: The impact of this development on commercial lease rates, and ultimately, how much we pay for dinner.
  8. I think you have raised the crux of the discussion, Karen; the theme that de La Pradelle describes is very much a universal one (as has been painstakingly pointed out here) about the complicity of any buy:sell contract, social or otherwise. Hot dogs on wry for you, maple syrup dreams for me. Jamie
  9. Neat link, Andrew - thanks. Yes, the BCWI is planning forward effectively. Let's hope that strong vintages (unlike '05) leading up to 2010 support a strong marketing and travel budget. Waste not, want not . . . As Jeffy Boy points out, the general media tend to go to a low denominator when it comes to food and wine - perhaps our job is to ensure they aim higher up the chain.
  10. I rarely win when I scratch, Sean, especially in public. And alas, my flaneuring was largely limited to making the hay in the fields and donating Canadian blood on the asphalt-like rugby pitches of the Massif Central and environs. Fortunately, Extra-Jeans's daughters were exceptional tour guides by night, although by the end of the second season that Dior would be shut forever. It seems like an Eric Rohmer movie of like-vintage now. But leave out the Latin? I think not - for there you'll surely find the lies that bind us. Not incidentally, after we'd piled the trailers high with the hay bales and stacked the barn, Extra-Jean would take us into the village for, no, not chilly pints, at least not right away. The first drink was always a tepid pastis, a little laying down of the gauntlet. Only then the pints would flow and I'll say this about him: although he was my patron, he was never patronizing.
  11. Well, it was shortly after the Crimean War. What a shame Richelieu wasn't a better playwright.
  12. It did win a literary prize but it didn't make any particular fuss I have been aware of. Many literary prizes (and indeed there are many, from the Goncourt to the International Prize of Southeast Cantal Tobbaconists or the Sassetot-Le-Mauconduit's Cycling Single Mothers Association's National Literay Award) are won in France every year without raising much public attention. This one didn't. ← Here's the website for both the Institut de France and l'Académie Francaise; the latter was founded in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu. Lovely chap, noteworthy trencherman and fondly remebered in these precincts for dispatching Samuel de Champlain in search of market ingredients. I wouldn't turn my nose up at one of these; the last French award I won, together with about five euros, would secure a chilly pint.
  13. Four years minus two weeks . . . As Canadians deal with post-partum Olympic depression (no more 4 am hockey games), I'd be interested to know what you think about just how our culinary scene will embrace the world. What food and restaurant trends, areas of restaurant development and style of dining do you foresee? And if the international media picked up on Torino's chocolate industry as the bellwether for the city (those bicerins of coffeee, chocolate and cream looked terrific), what will they capture here? Fowkian Pastrami, Nanaimo Bars, salmon garavlax? Let's just hope it's not Yoplait creamy yogurt, surely the most irritating of all the Olympic advertisements. Get on it . . .
  14. It's available for immediate delivery from Amazon. I've ordered it. ← We look forward to your thoughts when the Amazon package arrives, Karen. I enjoy reading historical/sociological/ethnographic culinary books very much: we have more in common with our forebears than one might think. Around here, for instance, our forebears' diet was composed mainly of wild berries and early settlers. Although the surface theme of this thread examined de La Pradelle's findings (which made quite a fuss in France a decade ago and earned her a literary prize), there's also certainly a more universal context of aspirational purchasing and the collusion of buyer and seller. The market she describes and the incidents uncovered by her research are little different from the market vendors of Italy in the Renaissance, or, for that matter, Ralph Lipschitz and the invention of the Polo brand. But then I suppose there's a Lacoste to everything: Some cultures look inward, while others look out. Perhaps it’s only by looking out for each other, however, that we might find our innermost shopper. Or so goes the thesis. And now, back to women’s speed skating.
  15. Madumbi, In the happy instance that you might be interested in our petite culinary culture, here's a little book that pretty much describes it (something inclusive and that arrived from many places) and is still in print. Or, gratis, you may go here or or here. Next issue: Funghi Wrangling. Now where's that group hug emoticon? Jamie
  16. Stanley, colour me feckless and chagrined. Another fantasy ruined forever. Are you trying to tell me that Reading Terminal's thinly-sliced beef, wood-fired baguette, hand-composted bell peppers (surely the Kelly Bundy of the entire pepper family), lovingly caramelized onions and glop of Cheese Whiz® were not all artisanally produced by Amish nymphs? And are you saying that the artfully nuanced gestures and discourse ("Wid or Widout?") was merely a charade, those pissed-off wiseguy grddlemen mere off-duty English professors? I'm shocked and, well, I promise I'll invoke some really useful umbrage once my knickers untwist. + Like I said: Fruges consumere nati. At least I'm pretty sure that what it said on Angelina Jolie's backside but I've misplaced my Vanity Fair. All of which leads to an inescapable conclusion - who did cut the cheese in here?
  17. Pretty tough, Lee. But I might be able to help you with an off-season tour, then dinner elsewhere. Give me a shout.
  18. Caveat Emptor: Fruges consumere nati sine timore aut favore.
  19. I always listen with at least one ear when teenagers recommend good value. So when our neighbour Mike recommended the burgers and BBQ chicken sandwiches at the new Pappas Roaster's (beside the theatres at Orchard Plaza in Kelowna) we made a beeline. For $5.99 we had a very good hamburger: fresh chuck and fixings du jour, quality Portugiese-style bun and a whomp of Caesar salad to accompany. The BBQ chicken sandwich was also satisfying, although the BBQ sauce could have been deeper and less sweet. The (whole) butterflied and grilled chicken (similar to Quattro's style in Vancouver) looked good. And hey, they deliver, but not to Burnaby, Arne. Nearby is the excellent Discover Wines. For our partners meeting two weeks ago, Suzanne sourced some hard-to-find bottles, including large format Stellar's jay and some older (02) CedarCreek Platinum merlot. Our Californian partners were fascinated. The adjacent LCB specialty store is your best bet for better spirits and out-of-province wines. The other government stores in the valley are, well, dispiriting. Curiously, although Pappas is an independent, the slick menu graphics and decor suggest it's a chainlet in the making (Westbank? Pandosy Village?) and, based on this initial experience, one I would welcome. For our morning construction meeting yesterday I served nasty, brutish men in hard hats Okanagan Grocery's excellent cookies, where cranberries counterpunch the sweet licks of chocolate. I'd warrant they're the best cookies in the valley, at least that I've found so far. Their super-sized gruyere-straws are also great with soup - yesterday, a hefty habtitant-style pea with smoked ham hock from Illichman's, freshened with scallions. Pretty good match for the variable weather yesterday: designer dusting of snow, meltdown, whiteout by 3 o'clock for the Thursday dash to the airport. By the way, you can now print your WestJet boarding pass on-line, and I recommend you do; I haven't been on a flight yet this year that wasn't at capacity. But by booking ahead four weeks or so, the single-leg price is about the same (c. $70) as a tank of gas. I wouldn't think of driving the Coke, let alone the Connector, at this time of the year. Lots of neat, fresh cooking at The Birch Grill on Bernard, where you're likely to find lots of winemakers and agents on Thursday afternoons. New premises for The Bohemian, for casual sandwiches (the roast turkey is my favourite) and well made soups are now open, a couple of doors down from The Birch. The cure for downtown parking on Rockets home nights? We go right after work to The Waterfront Wine Bar for some snacks and a glass of, top up with 'hockey sirloins' at the game and then return to Waterfront for some closing flossers and cleansers.
  20. Megan, You have been such a wonderful contributor all over this site and now you so graciously welcome us into your home. The timing of your tour is terrific for us as it anticpates our next visit to New York - we look forward to following in your footsteps. Cheers aye, Jamie
  21. Agreed: how wonderful that a young and talented female won. And further, as this was a seriously judged competition (Bruno Marti: "This is cooked to perfection.") without the pyrotechnics of some over-produced shows, I hope that it's a useful introduction for other talented people considering the profession.
  22. At the banque. At the court. At the market. , nudge, nudge. Your anecdotes seem nicely supportive of de La Pradelle's thesis: as the occasion demands, leave the shiny Peugeot at home in favour of the Deux-Chevaux, the automotive equivalent of the flapping shoe. Nothing like a good leg-pulling, what? Harmless fun to be sure, but fun nonetheless.
  23. No worries whatsoever, Doc. Dog River is a veritable Champs-Elyse-eh of superior dining opportunites, all washed down with spirited coffee Canadianos!
  24. DIVA AT THE MET'S LAURA SHARPE WINS CANADA'S 'NEXT GREAT CHEF' TITLE 'VANCOUVER, BC - In a TV culinary battle to determine who Canada's next generation's top chef would be, Laura Sharpe chopped, roasted and plated the best three-course meal of her young career to win the esteemed title of The Next Great Chef. The win gained additional significance for Laura, as she became the first female chef to win the KNORR/ CCFCC Junior Culinary Challenge, the premise of the new TV culinary drama. Competing against nine other provincial finalists from an original field of 100, Laura out-cooked her closest rivals from Alberta and Ontario and captured top honours in a competition that a year earlier she was unable to even qualify for provincially. With invaluable support from her mentor, Diva at the Met's executive chef Ray Henry, Laura perfected her dishes and won over the judges who were basing their decision on very specific criteria - preparation technique, taste and plating of the compulsory ingredients each chef was given to work with in the finals. The ingredients included flat iron steak, quail, foie gras and Dungeness crab. Laura's final menu featured Roasted Quail Breast, Foie Gras Torchon, Surf and Turf, Sous-Vide Flat Iron Steak, Crab and Fennel Ravioli, and a Lemon Study Pine Nut Tart with Lemon Sour Cream Ice Cream. The success of her dishes translated into a win that was 30 points ahead of her nearest competitor. "I'm thrilled that I won, especially since it is my first win, in any competition, to date," states Laura Sharpe, Diva at the Met. "It's amazing to think I almost dropped out a couple of days prior to the competition because I caught a horrible cold that left me with bumps on my tongue and no ability to taste my dishes. I think I'm still waiting for this win to sink in." As the winner, Laura receives $5,000 cash, a trip to one of the CCFCC Culinary Team Canada's competitions and five trips to various Canadian and/or US cities to observe and experience cooking in different restaurants. Her first order of business, though, is to finish her apprenticeship at the Vancouver Community College this August and then continue learning full time in Ray Henry's kitchen at Diva at the Met.' "Laura's talents and style are a reflection of the type of chef she is and what lifts her above the others," says executive chef Ray Henry. "Her commitment and passion to her craft makes this win well deserved. Laura's win is also motivation to the entire Diva brigade and supports our efforts in developing the next generation of leading chefs."
  25. Then clearly you haven't been to Dog River, Saskatchewan, Doc. There, porridge-thick (chardonn--eh?!) accents grunt and collide in the muskeg zephyrs. The landscape is eerily reminiscent of the more chic precincts of the Russian Steppe. Speaking of which, step inside the Ruby Diner to sample the daily specials, from stuffed goldeye or baked pickerel bechamel to chump of bison. But keep your fork, Duke, 'cuz there's pie - Saskatoonberry pie - à la mode! The parvenus of Paris should be so lucky, but need not apply. And did I mention the women? Well, I love a woman in uniform, especially if she's packing heat and her cheekbones are so sharp you can hang your laundry off 'em. Montreal, a great city. But Dog River is clearly the most European of all unincorporated North American jurisdictions and a blessing to us all!
  • Create New...