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Posts posted by seanw

  1. He could do worse than head west, where there is a dearth of good restaurant writers, such as the trail blazed by Alex Gill(who isn't afraid of upsetting the apple cart, which is refreshing from the general lovefest that prevails)

  2. I think that Chinese, Izakaya & Vij's are probably Vancouver's best conceived & well managed food options. Does anybody else recognize the limitations of the most successful spate of restaurants in recent memory that revolve around french onion soup, tomato soup(veg option), beet & cheese salad, burger(gourmet) & fries overcooked, mussels, steak etc....... How banal, thank god for the ethnic food restaurants, although they can be much alike too. I wish there was a little more imagination.

  3. At least I can respect her methodology, by not being conspicuous you at least can get an average diner's perspective, (her recent review of Society is a good case in point). There are a number of reviewers who do not hold to this standard & must surely lack relevancy, is it any surprise that some of the most highly regarded restaurant critics, such as Bruni, Maschler, Durack etc. operate in such a way, to the benefit of the consumer not the restaurateur. Within some cliques of restaurants the relationship verges on sycophancy, a money/power thing I guess.

  4. Interesting topic. Oceanwise has been a very useful enabler in the debate of informing the consumer & restaurant in what exactly constitutes sustainable fish. However it is not perfect, a far more rigourous standard is offered by the Marine Stewardship Council, whom l may add are looking at the certification of BC Sockeye, Pink & Chum species & should produce their findings soon(not soon enough!!!).

    The MSC do not certify aquaculture yet but have identified links with the Soil Association in the UK (which has become a leader in developing organic aquaculture standards ,a surprisingly new & evolving process). With better research consumers & chefs alike will be able to make more informed decisions. Will it matter to local wild fish populations who not only suffer from overfishing but environmental issues too??? Yep a crapload of BC's catch goes abroad, & that demand is unlikely to wane unless the GOvt. does something about it. And really are the feds, prov. & city govts. going to effectively limit development to econmically important river systems that happen to have fish in them. The feds refused to recognize the particular sensitivity of decline in a number of select runs of salmon in BC waters by not granting protection status.

    I guess as consumers the option exists in promoting & valuing other species, such as the Spiny dogfish(yummy fish & chips!!) which is deemed a sustainable source. Another could be artic char which is farmed within a fairly efficient closed system but as with farmed salmon a rethink is needed with it's food source(which aint sustainable) the Soil Assoc. standards seem to offer a desirable alternative. Farming of shellfish within BC is becoming increasingly significant & desirable as a foodsource & not enough local menus reflect this IMO. Perhaps as with a carbon tax a salmon tax could be applied to salmon fished locally(irrespective of domestic/international market consumption, in fact lets tax the foreigners more) Such revenues could be used to subsidize(dirty word i know) local fishers to fish less & perhaps used to protect particularly sensitive habitats. I could ramble on but i wont got to cook some ling cod for dinner.

  5. Hi, this is somewhat off topic but relevant i think. Sidestripe shrimp sold at Granville Island with alot of eggs. Ethical purcahase or not???? I really think personally that shrimp should not be sold in such state on eating quality alone. I think that shellfish purveyors should also take a look at their practices too. Fuck crabs are eating each other at Granville Island .

  6. I really like this book. The photos reveal much, especially so considering the austerity of style that is displayed in many. Dan's remarks of the architecture of the area resonate. But really through the people & produce a sincerity rings through, you can see it in the faces of the staff at the back of the book too. The guy himself, speaks as a leader of people with just standards & motivations. I'm inspired to return back to Italy, last time was spent in Sardinia- holy crap the seafood was friggin amazing, & no fucking around with it. Dan, did you take the photos for Baker & Spice book??? cos this is a vast improvement.

  7. I think Monoprix are on a par if not better than Waitrose. I like Capers tho', they have a good local emphasis(tho' that's difficult to tell at this time of the year) & fairly sustainable practices(moreso if you consider SPUD's ecological footprint approach). A more discerning customer that demands better choices & then supports it with their wallet will ensure improvements. Afterall the UK & pretty well much everywhere else benefits/or not from the weight of it's history(which Canada lacks,no offence intended). I should mention something about Irish ingredients, in Chile i saw tons of Irish butter ,that was a result of infamous CAP policies, on the shelves of supermarkets for really cheap prices. A country with all the capabilities of Canada should be able to produce decent butter.

  8. Gingerpeachy,

    You can find very good beef at Bluegoose(north shore& i believe Stongs now have a small selection. Forget about Wholefoods). Dry-aged 21 days, complex beef flavour-the real deal. I have never really been satisfied with any of the GI butchers. Fish can be decent @ GI(for some months of the year) but i generally purchase in Chinatown, especially Ling Cod (whenever i'm back in the UK or europe i have to splurge on fish. Vancouver lacks diversity in fish.) Lamb & Pork can be a bugger to source & forget about mutton. I have managed to find decent Gulf Island lamb from IGA on the occasion & have resorted to buying frozen J-springs(?) lamb for braise pieces(shanks.....even a shoulder or two). i have had excellent pork from Sloping Hill farm on the Island (Crannog Brewery apparently are rearing some interesting breeds, not sure how you would get hold of them tho') If you ask John at Oyama he may be able to help. That's off the top of my head hope it helps. I lived really close to La Fromagerie(aahhh) in London so i understand the clinical point you make, same could be said of the butchers, bakers & candlestick makers.

  9. A very nice chap he is too, hard working, methodical & passionate about food. About time he was given the opportunity. I believe he is good friends with Mark Askew of RHR(both worked together @ Bras), wow that would be an interesting combo! Anyway not surprised to hear you enjoyed your meal Matthew.

  10. It may be interesting to consider whom you would like to see. Personally i would enjoy a number of participants to attend. Roellinger with east coast fish. Aduriz or Berasetegui(with one of his protege's). Richard Neat(this guy is a nomad, last i heard he was in Cuba after a stint in a Riad in Marrekech) i'm fascinated with what he could do with shopping in Montreal. I could mention plenty more but i'm hungry now.

  11. I was particularly interested in the Duncan Holmes piece -Critical EN Masse. I'm sure meat suppliers around the city are dealing with orders for bigger steaks. It hardly seems fair that restaurants are expected to satisfy "as much as two people can eat" Alex( :raz:), it's like going undercover as Mr Creosote. Everybody was extremely diplomatic in not slagging off PR reps., i think that is called not shooting oneself in the foot, not a good blacklist to be on for a restaurant critic- fair enough. I most readily identify with the Pawsey approach , seems the most relavant to my life(somebody should give the man a budget). Although all the others have their moments.

    I would be interested to know from Andrew if the tip pool that was shared by waitstaff @ Chambar extended further to the kitchen, with perhaps a bigger share of the pie????-owners take note.

  12. Ducky, Thanks for the comical explanation. I certainly dine with the understanding that i will be able to approach the next day sated & ready for my next meal. I have a good relationship with my appetite although frequently i find when i dine well my appetite can just go off the charts( i believe Lorna has this capacity too :wink:) In such instances i tend to buy more. It is certainly reasonable to expect a degree of value for your hard earned coin, but you know that ingredients, labour, PR, fancy retarded washrooms all cost money- & by walking thro' the door you have accepted this. Unscrupulous restos can pile your plate with carbs & certainly you will be sated- & so primarily YOU will be happy, i guess. I have dropped money in places like Arzak, Berasetegui, Gagnaire, Roellinger....etc. It's only money & i know that it will find it's way to deserving hands(farmers,fishers...etc...), restos like this are necessary, such activities, done well, are valid & i would hate to see such opportunities for an alternative lifestyle that enriches our society disappear. I feel that you have focussed on this failing of C not to fill you up, however food is far more interesting than that, & that other people would be interested to hear a little more of your thoughts concerning the meal- afterall you are supposed to be a resto(i dont think you are a food critic- but that's OK it's the nature of the market here)critic & if only you could get beyond that issue i may get a better idea of what didnt fill you up.


  13. Pacific Hake( has to be brought to market fast or degrades rapidly, like skate. Usually frozen at sea & esteemed by the Poles as Sam pointed out. The Atlantic variety is coveted in continental europe, especially Spain & Portugal- & tastes fantastic.) Spiny dogfish(yep a shark) funnily enough this gets shipped over to the UK & makes an adequate fish & chips. Pacific herring, available fresh(if you can find it) in winter, has strong flavour which should be appreciated alot more but isnt. Pacific Sardine, used by C & few others as far as i can tell, is another fish with a fishy flavour- so all those people out there who are looking for fish without a fishy flavour this is not for you! Rockfish, god knows how many varieties there are, sometimes referred to as snapper is more widely available although for how long will be difficult to say. I believe a number of Rockfish are in peril, so perhaps a little research would not go amiss before putting them on your menu. Skate is a highly regarded fish in Europe, but not here, as has been already been mentioned skate degrades quickly & i find that what generally makes it to the market has been processed & is too big(i prefer the smaller wings). Catch em & put em on ice, the fishmonger should be doing the work, if they have the skills. There was a beautiful set of photos on Chezpim's website from a market in Italy where the Seabass has been displayed whole,on ice, & then the gills opened for display to the public- "look everybody this is FRESH fish". How can you tell when skin, head & gills have been removed?? but such things cost money that the Vancouver market is not willing to sustain. Where a lack of diversity exists in fin fish, the same can not be said of shellfish in BC. But again much gets shipped abroad. Goose barnacles are prized by the Spanish(percebes), abalone(another sensitive specie), sea urchin, sea cucumber, razor clams, geoduck.........the list goes on. No Lobster, big deal! Diversity is always enriching, however enough exists within the region to be appreciated, just a shame that difficulties exist that hamper the process of bringing fresh seafood to the local market, usually involving money but also environmental damage. Lipservice is paid to the notion of valuing seafood in BC, if seafood is so friggin valuable how is it that we think nothing of pissing & shitting in the ecosystem that supports it. Anything that lives in the proximity of mainland BC, Washington State & has a reasonably long lifespan is pretty well much toxic waste(a number of dead Orcas have been classified as toxic waste).

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