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Viola da gamba

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    Smithers, BC
  1. Viola da gamba

    Christmas Puddings

    Why the hell would you buy brandy butter - it's not like it's complicated to make? 6 tablespoons brandy 6 oz (175 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature 6 oz (175 g) soft dark brown sugar or white sugar, depending on preference Cream butter and sugar together. Gradually stir beat brandy into the butter and sugar mix. Place in the refrigerator until needed. Serve with Christmas pudding, toast, mince pies, or what have you. Melt and serve warm over ice cream.
  2. Viola da gamba

    Road Trip to Prince Rupert

    Oh man - good food on Highway 16 - I'll do my best ... South of Prince George - there's nowhere to eat in Williams Lake apart from the Laughing Loon, and that's nothing to write home about (standard pub fare). In Quesnel, same problem - although the coffee at the place that looks as though it's ripping off Starbucks' logo isn't bad. I haven't tried the steakhouse across the river in Quesnel - we're usually too busy trying to get home. Load up on stuff in Vancouver, and head for highway 16 - or stop at pubs and know that at least it's safe. Prince George - haven't eaten there for ages, but apparently the people who used to own the Italian restaurant that is now Rare (help me someone) have moved back up to PG, and have re-opened a restaurant there - might be worth checking out. Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake, Fort Fraser - you're on your own, sorry. Burns Lake - there's a new-ish pub - I think called the Grapevine - just down the street from the 7-11 - it's not bad. About on a par with the Lennox for food, not much in the way of beer selection. The gas prices in Burns Lake are generally the cheapest of anywhere on Highway 16 (Fort Fraser has occasionally been cheaper) - fill up. Houston, Topley, Granisle - nowhere to eat - move along. Telkwa - Bridges is, much to my amazement, still open - and some people give it rave reviews - might be worth checking out for lunch. Otherwise, the Green House does a not bad ginger beef. Take a detour up the Telkwa High Road (just before the One Stop, on the right as you're heading west, after you're through Telkwa - if you get to the gas station, you've gone too far) - the Foxhole Bakery (4490 Fox Road - off the Telkwa High Road on the left after you pass the turnoff for Tyhee Lake & the cemetary) is worth checking out - they do good bread, nice granola, and they carry local honey which, probably due to the prevalence of dandelions, is quite peppery. Continue along the Telkwa High Road, turn left on Old Babine Road (i.e. at the stop sign) and turn right back onto the highway. Smithers. Sigh. Still not a great culinary mecca. The Iron Horse is still good, although service is dreadfully slow - nice soups, really good breakfasts, and half the town seems to swear by their sandwiches. Schimmel's (on Main Street) has re-opened under new owners, now accepts credit cards and debit - the coffee ain't great, but the pastries, bread, sandwiches & schnitzel (Thursdays only) are first-rate. The Logpile Lodge is still an option for dinner if you can plan ahead - see my response to Daddy-A's post, slightly lower down on the link. The Alpenhorn has gone downhill, but the beer's still okay, and they have Strongbow cider on tap. The golf club (west of town, on the right) has improved their food hugely, and is open to the public - that's not saying it's great, but it's now an option - and the view is fabulous. Don't eat at the Hudson's Bay Lodge - restaurant, pub or cafe - it's changed hands, and they don't even fake-make their salad dressings any more - you get little packets of Kraft. Java's is still reliable for coffee. Avoid Kokopelli's - their coffee sucks and the service is worse. DO NOT eat at the Aspen. Blue Fin Sushi gets their fish from Rupert, and is the best sushi on Highway 16 - they only use wild sockeye for salmon, and if the halibut is fresh there's nowhere better. Not a huge selection, but they do what they do well. Farmers' market Saturdays, and we're about 6 - 8 weeks behind Vancouver - strawberries & raspberries are about in the middle of their season right now, and saskatoon berries are just starting to ripen. Saskatoon berry jam should be available at the farmers' market. Heading west - there's a new cafe opening in Moricetown opposite the canyon - haven't tried it (it's not open yet), but it looks like it should be heavy on the fish - so good news there. Slightly cheaper gas here than in Smithers usually. The Hazeltons, Kitwanga - nothing to eat, keep going - although the K'San village (in Old Hazelton) is worth a detour, as is Hagwilget Canyon, if you're sightseeing. If you have to stop, Mercedes Beanz in Old Hazelton does very good coffee & tea. The Trading Post does good crab cakes, but the service is execrable and the rest of the food below-average - sadly. Neat building, some great historical photos. After Kitwanga, there's a yellow cafe on the left (still heading west) - it's supposed to be good in a hippy kind of way - haven't been, so can't recommend. It is VERY yellow, so hard to miss! Kitimat - if you detour off the highway before Terrace - there's a new cafe in Kitimaat village (first left after the tourist info place) that does fabulous fish for very reasonable prices (primarily for dinner - but you can stay at the hotsprings just south of Lakelse Lake - rundown hotel, but kind of a cool place in a very '70s kind of way) - availability depending on the catch. Not much else to see unless you're fascinated by aluminum smelters. It's wet here. Terrace - if you buy stuff at Safeway, any purchase of $35 or more will get you 0.07 off gas at the Safeway gas bar provided you have/use a Safeway club card - they will give you one on the spot. Fill up. The only place to eat in Terrace is Don Diego's - a sort of Mexican place (no, this isn't as frightening as it sounds - the food is actually good) that posts its menu on a chalkboard, which makes recommending anything there tough, as we've not had the same food twice. If they've got them, the salmon/rice/corn cakes were wonderful, as was the chocolate chipotle cake. Dos Equis Amber in bottles, a surprising selection of wine. Coming into Terrace, go over the overpass, turn right at the lights, left at the 4-way, it's on the right. Nowhere else to eat. Sad. Prince Rupert - fish, glorious fish. Dolly's Seafood in Cow Bay does EXCELLENT chowder and is a good place to buy fish. Smiles Cafe does okay sandwiches, but I can't get past the smell of frying. The beer & wine store across the parking lot from Dolly's has a reasonable selection. Don't eat at the Crest - overpriced, and not very good - for preference, eat at the Breakers pub, again in Cow Bay - food as good as the lounge at the Crest & about 1/3 cheaper. View of the harbour from both places. Excellent halibut cheek burgers (but then I'd crawl over broken glass using my lips for halibut cheeks). For a "nice" meal, try the Cow Bay Cafe - great food, again very dependent upon what's fresh, which makes it hard to recommend anything in particular - neat room, right on the water. If you're fed up with seafood, Zorba's does v. good Sri Lankan food, and La Cucina (sorry) is the local standby for Italian. Don't eat Chinese in Rupert. Mr. VdaG swears by the Pho at Herby's - I've never had it (on 3rd opposite/near Tim Horton's) - close to the Coast. I have not had good sushi in Rupert EVER - which is weird - but the sushi place in Cow Bay is your best bet if you're desperate, and the cockles were good. Very good coffee at either the Cowpuccino's (again, sorry) in Cow Bay, or okay coffee at Javadot.cup (on 3rd - also a B&B). Be warned - nearly everywhere in Rupert stops serving food at about 9:00 during the week, except for the Lounge at the Crest (10:00) or the restaurant there (9:30). Hope this is some help - sorry it's so long. Have a good trip!
  3. According to the sites referred to here: http://elyclarifies.blogspot.com/2005/03/s...-vs-prawns.html, not really, although apparently the UN Food Commission thinks shrimp live in salt water, prawns in fresh. Go figure.
  4. Viola da gamba

    Eating out with Dad

    I've checked out the "best of" thread, and haven't found an answer to this one, so I'm just going to leap in and hope. We're in Vancouver for a week in May - Jonathan & I have every intention of hitting Chambar - mmmm, venison & mussels - but my Dad, who's coming over on Friday night, REALLY hates noisy places - to the extent that he'd rather leave before an order arrives than put up with it (a fun experience it is not). As far as noisy, I'm thinking of places like the Bins, and taking into account everyone's discussion of the noise level at Chambar. He loved Cru, but I haven't seen anything on here recently about it. Please help - is Cru still good? Or is there somewhere else doing the same sort of thing (for the same sort of price) that doesn't get too noisy? Thanks, all.
  5. Viola da gamba

    Back-of-the-Package Cooking

    The only recipe off a box that I can think of that I make consistently is the double-chocolate cheesecake off the Baker's semi-sweet chocolate box (inside, not on the back, but near enough). It's generally a hit, although I don't like cheesecake so can't vouch for it. The only variation is that I tend to add either strained & warmed apricot or raspberry jam as a sauce.
  6. Viola da gamba

    best hot chocolate in Vancouver?

    I totally agree about Picnic's hot chocolate - gotta love the addition of the bits of vanilla in the semi-frozen whipped cream - yum.
  7. Viola da gamba

    Muscovy Duck

    Thanks everyone! We're picking it up tomorrow, cooking it Sunday - apparently it's somewhere between 5 & 1/2 and 9 pounds, depending which one we get - I'll post later re: how it went, what we did, & sides. I know I should be more organised, but we're having guests for dinner tonight & I'm having to get through that first (not a big deal, but I've just found out that the daughter of the guests - who are otherwise lovely people - has become a vegan in the last month. I think I must have been bad in a past life.). the potato & mushroom bake sounds wonderful.
  8. Viola da gamba

    Muscovy Duck

    There's only 3 of us for thanksgiving (so far) - so yes, it will be the only meat. If the number grows, I'll probably do a ham as well (easy, cheap, and good sandwich leftovers). Haven't decided on sides yet - whole other thread - my Dad is desperate for brussels sprouts & I can't stand them - bleah. Thanks for the tip about pricking the skin. I don't think I have time to bone & confit the dam' thing - but I'll keep that in mind for Christmas.
  9. Viola da gamba

    Muscovy Duck

    Yeah - thanks - knew that - it's more the size of the thing that's got me concerned. And it's free-range - i.e. will have been killed shortly before we pick it up - so I'm pretty sure what it's been eating, too. But thanks for the suggestion ... Thanks, Adam & mtigges - I think it's going to be the size of a small goose - so I'll treat it as one - and that recipe looks great!
  10. Viola da gamba

    Muscovy Duck

    So - I agreed to cook a muscovy duck for Canadian Thanksgiving (the weekend of October 7th) - I have never cooked one before. Anyone got any ideas? Or do I just treat like a big duck/small goose & go from there? All suggestions greatfully accepted!
  11. Thanks to work, I have amassed three very quickly - and they're not even the usual suspects! My last 2 lunches have been in "Old Hazelton" - it's about a 45 - 50 (depending on how hard you adhere to the speed limit) minute drive west of Smithers. We ate once at "Rob's Pizza", an unpromisingly named restaurant in an old riverboat right on the new dyke they've built beside the river. Fabulous view - watched bears fishing the river - they had more luck than I have been. The soup that day was a roasted corn & ham chowder - very good - the ham was nicely smoked, and the corn was from a cob, not a can - delicious. Rather than bread, they make home-made garlic bread sticks, which were sufficiently garlicky to cause comment when I went back to work. One of the party had the fettucine rusticana, which he said was excellent & wouldn't share - loaded with olives, tomatoes, and green bits (couldn't tell if it was spinach or parsley) - it looked excellent and apparently the pasta was nicely al dente. Coffee refills were attentive, as was water. We'll be going back for dinner (chicken sacchetti in a gorgonzola/prosciutto sauce calls to me) and I will report later. Yesterday, lunch was at the Trading Post, whose latest boast to fame is hosting Iona Campagnola (spelling? My apologies) last time she was up this way. Three of the party had the beef dip with the soup of the day (borscht). Apparently, it was excellent - more a Russian than a Hungarian borscht, for those of you to whom that means something. The sandwich part of the dip was served on ciabatta - it looked great - and when hot mustard was requested, it really was - not French's at all. Not being a fan of beef dip or borscht, I had the crab cakes - they came with a side salad (fresh, and the vegetables looked like they might have been grown locally) and a lemon dill sauce. They were excellent - very crab-by, no bread crumbs in sight - highly recommended. Again, attentive coffee & water service. Yesterday evening was dinner at the Alpenhorn. They're changing the menu, but I wasn't feeling adventurous & had the smoked salmon & brie bruschetta. One of my favourite combinations done nicely. 'Nuff said.
  12. Viola da gamba

    BC's Best Clam Chowder

    Dolly's fish market in Prince Rupert - best I've ever had. Either style. Bar none. Worth the drive in and of itself. So there. Also a big fan of their halibut cheek & lobster bisque. Take that, southerners!
  13. If you're staying at Tigh-na-mara - they used to do an absolutely killer Sunday brunch - provided you like seafood. And I heartily second the mini golf - particularly the toilet-puck blue water traps As to where else to eat - this link might help (at least it's a list of options). http://tourismmall.victoria.bc.ca/aavanisle/pqeats.htm
  14. Sigh - due to water pipe problems (it broke) and septic problems (it broke) and having to set up a new office (the old one closed - 5 weeks' notice - I hate my life) it has taken forever to get to three. Sadly, this is more of a warning than a paean to excellence. For those of you who may, for whatever reason, be coming up this way - do not eat at the Aspen - think Denny's at twice the price and 1/2 the service. Seriously - since when did it take an hour to scramble some eggs? And the hash browns were crunchy - not in the good, fried way, but in the raw, uncooked way. Blech. Be warned. Otherwise - ate at the Bulkley Valley Fall Fair on Saturday - the Legion was barbecuing beef for beef on a bun (pretty tasty with the dipping sauce, which was pretty well dripping), and gave us the trimmings (10 pounds worth) to take home for the dogs - so I cannot say anything bad!! Put all that meat through the grinder - what is it with people turning down fat, skin, etc. - mmmmm, flavour - and am now thinking of the plethora of things I can do with ground bbq beef. Quick trip to the Alpenhorn (pub) on Wednesday - they're doing a wild mushroom ravioli in a roasted orange/chipotle sauce that is really good.
  15. Viola da gamba

    State Fair Food

    There are a couple of memorable ones from the Bulkley Valley Fall Fair & Exhibition (or am I disqualified being Canadian?!) - perogies on a stick still confuse me, but the mini sausage rolls with extra old cheddar and jalapenos RULE. And of course, all hail the mini doughnut cart.
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