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Everything posted by barolo

  1. I think BC whites are pretty good and there are some good values out there. Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc are good bets - I liked Wild Goose, Blasted Church and Tinhord Creek Pinot Gris lately. Actually the whole line up of whites at Blasted Church was pretty good this year. The Mission Hill Pinot Grigio isn't my style, but it is well made and has its fans. Hester Creek Pinot Blanc at about $11.00 is a good sipper. I don't drink a lot of chardonnay but I agree with Merlin that what is coming out of BC is much better than the industrial stuff coming from California and Australia and prices are much better. Reislings are coming along and again, at the sipper level, there are some good value choices like Geringer Brothers. I liked the Wild Goose Stony Slope too, didn'tget a chance to try their regular bottling. I'm less enthused about the reds, even though there are some good ones emerging, more because of the relatively prices than anything else. However I don't believe BC wineries are highly subsidized and I would guess there is far more government subsidy going into California and Australian wineries than there is in BC. And certainly agricultural subsidies in France are commonplace. While there are lots of great wines produced in those areas, there's lots of crap too. There's tanker loads of industrial reds from California and especially Australia being sold at some pretty prices. But the hot climate jammy reds are in fashion with a lot of the market, so they are doing well despite their manufactured origins. In BC I liked Note Bene, but not enought to buy more than one bottle, and found the Fairview Cellars reds to be good value. It is hard to find BC wines made by smaller producers unless you go to the winery or are on a mailing list, but hey there's a ton of good wine out there so why sweat it. I enjoy an annual trip to the Okanagan and buy some wine, ask my favourite product consultant at the liquor store for recommendations, go to tastings at the VQA store once in a while, see what's recommended at the private wine stores, and seem to end up with way more wine than I can drink once the rest of the wine world is factored in. So if I miss out on some Poplar Grove, Burrowing Owl or Blue Mountain big deal, there's lots of other good choices? I think the wine industry in BC is getting its act together and whether it has taken "too" long or not doesn't really matter to me, I'm looking at what's here now. I don't go out of my way to buy BC wines, but I don't ignore them either. I'm always trying new wines, BC or otherwise, and mostly you have to rely on recommendations from people you trust. The Village VQA stores at Dunbar and Edgemont have free tastings every weekend, you can try BC wines for free and decide for yourself whether or not to buy them,
  2. I went last night with a friend and overall it was a good meal and very good value for the money. Comments: Reservations: Were handled well. The food - we shared the organic greens salad with over dried pear and goat cheese in a gewurtraminer vinagrette which was excellent and well prepared. I had braised lamb on white beans and pancetta, very good. My friend had scallops on risotto with chanterelles that were declared excellent. We also had an order of Terra bread - good as usual but awkward to tear apart gracefully as it wasn't cut through quite enough. We shared an ice wine orange cake with creme fraiche which was good but not special enough for us. Prices - Generally the servings are generous for the prices although bread at $4.00 wasn't exactly a bargain and there was much more than we (or most people, I would wager) wanted. Wine prices are reasonable. Service - ok, friendly and low key, but we didn't get the wine list concept explained to us and it seemed that some tables were getting more attentive service than we were. We were talking a lot though and the server may not have wanted to intrude. They were busy for a Tuesday night but we didn't feel rushed. Room - I found the entrance area awkward (hard in a long narrow room, I know), and the lighting in the foyer is not very appealing or flattering. The chairs are comfortable, white cloths on the table, simple glass candle holders and white plates, overall a minimalist look with light wood that is very appealing. Noise level is relatively low (yay!), lighting was too low to be able to easily discern the colour coded wine list (for my aged eyes anyway) but ok to read the menu. Women's washroom immediately by the bar - not a great location. Parking in the area is tough to find and expensive. Wine: A well thought out and reasonably priced list. It is pretty short though and doesn't really add up to a wine bar by any stretch of the imagination. The colour coded concept seems aimed at wine newbies. No wine flights offered or taster sizes as you might expect. Probably half of the offerings are available by the glass. A minor grumble - only one wine list per table: we don't share the menus, why do we have to share the wine list. This a reasonably priced grown-up restaurant, offering very good food - unfortunately all too rare in Vancouver. I would definitely go again and will recommend it to others. Make reservations unless you are coming early.
  3. I'd start with a coffee from JJ Beans or tea from Granville Island tea and then choose breakfast. Some of my breakfast favourites are apple foccacia or grape bread from Terra, a donut from Lee's Donuts, or hot cereal from the Stock Market. Then I'd do a quick tour of the market to see what day vendors are in that day. Before I shop in the market, I usually take a tour through Circle Craft, Crafthouse, the Wood Co-op and the Potter's Guild to see their gallery shows and check out the latest offerings. Then I amble around the rest of the artisan studios scattered around the Island and back to the market to do my shopping. If you are not familiar with the Island pick up a map at the information centre just past Kid's Only Market on Cartwright Street. Many of the Island shops also have Island maps. Aside from lots of crafts and artisans, there's a bunch of boat stuff to look at on the Island, a brewery, the aforementioned Kid's Only Market, an Art College, Opus Frames, theatres, restaurtants and various other shops that may be of greater or lesser interest to you. At the Public Market, as many have noted, Oyama sausage has an incredible array of cured meat and sausages, as well as some cheese, that must be checked out and sampled if possible. Terra Breads is great and check out the day vendors for seasonal offerings. I'd take a walk or drive down to 2nd and Burrard and check out les amis du fromage if you are really into cheese. For lunch the Stock Market is my pick, they always have 3 soups available. Usually though I take my groceries home and make lunch from my market finds. There are restaurtants on the Island but nothing to really get excited about. The restaurant at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, just off the entrance of the Island might be worth checking out. I'm not sure if it is open for lunch or just for dinner. Cheers, Barolo
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