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eG Foodblog: jamiemaw - In the Belly of the Feast: Eating BC


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This is awesome already! Great pictures, and I've always enjoyed the way you use language.

Jamie, will you be commenting on your feelings about being recognized or anonymous in this foodblog, or should we look elsewhere for your take on that?

Thank you: out of the fire and into the Pan works for me too.

Although I've commented ad nauseum on the issue of anonymity, I will be mentioning how we safeguard.

But as you might recall, I have absolutely no opinion on the subject. :shock:

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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Woohoo, Jamie. Off to an awesome start! This blog is going to be a thrill, but I have a question. You're not Chinese-Canadian??? The Maw had me faked out all this time.

Probably that doesn't count as a serious question. Would you provide a link to some of your columns for those of us who haven't yet, uh, tasted your wares? Do you manage somehow to be an incognito critic, with your picture plastered all over the Internet?

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Woohoo, Jamie.  Off to an awesome start!  This blog is going to be a thrill, but I have a question.  You're not Chinese-Canadian???  The Maw had me faked out all this time.

Probably that doesn't count as a serious question.  Would you provide a link to some of your columns for those of us who haven't yet, uh, tasted your wares?  Do you manage somehow to be an incognito critic, with your picture plastered all over the Internet?

No, actually I'm Scottish-Canadian on my mother's side. My maternal great-grandfather, David Leckie, arrived here in Kelowna about a century ago. You'll be reading more about him in a minute.

But the name Maw is English and not at all unsuitable for a food writer. Had I been blessed with a son I would have no doubt called him Gaping. Or Yawning. In Chinese it means "stomach" or "fish bladder" (depending on who I ask) and you see it all the time on Chinese menus: "Fish Maw - $7.95". So my Chinese buddies call me Jimmy the Gut. Helpfully, the $7.95 accurately describes my net worth.

The homonymic Chinese spellings of my surname are typically Ma or Mah.

Or as I say to my Dutch friend when leaving the pub - "Look Hans, no Maw."

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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Would you provide a link to some of your columns for those of us who haven't yet, uh, tasted your wares?

Abra, here's a link to the Media Digest for the Vancouver, British Columbia and Western Canada forum. In it, you'll find links to some of Jamie's monthly musings in Vancouver Magazine starting from May 2005.

Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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cook with chef Michael Allemeier of the Mission Hill Family Estate Winery

I forgot to ask you Jamie ... please be sure to query Michael on his experience in Lynchburg, TN at the JD BBQ Championships with Canadian Champ, Ron Shewchuck. I think Michael has been bitten by the BBQ bug, and it would be interesting to see if there's been any influence on his cuisine or the wine (Fume Blanc anyone?).

A.

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All aboard our little caravan then.

But first, allow me to put British Columbia (BC) in context.

And because we’ll be following the money this week, here’s a handy reference guide:

CDN $

USD 0.860067

GBP 0.497033

EUR 0.735162

AUD 1.15167

For the benefit of our American neighbours, the province of British Columbia, one of Canada’s thirteen provinces and territories http://canada.gc.ca/othergov/prov_e.html

is slightly larger in area than California, Oregon and Washington states combined (or about one-and-a-half times the size of Texas), but our population—of only four million— is less than half that of New Jersey. Greater Vancouver has a population of two million, the city proper about 600,000.

For our European friends, BC is about the size of Germany, France and the Netherlands combined, or about four times the size of Great Britain and Ireland, but with about one-fifteenth the population of the UK. We natives judge this just about an ideal passenger to acreage ratio, especially as most of us hug the 49th parallel, our southern boundary with the US. And that, of course, is because we are so terribly fond of its citizens.

Unlike Canada’s prairie and eastern provinces our climate is mild but as precipitous as the terrain, especially in the winter months. Although it rains about the same in Vancouver as in, say New York City, it can get gloomy here in January. But the snow is usually well behaved and hangs up in the mountain resorts—the best known is Whistler-Blackcomb. Or in the Okanagan, where you may have noticed the designer dusting in the photos I’ve posted.

Our prime growing season runs from mid-May to October. The average temperature in Vancouver during the summer is in the mid-20s C or upper 70s F; there is a refreshing lack of humidity as the dulcet westerly passes over us. It gets much warmer in the Okanagan.

Living in the far west, our culinary culture has far more in common with the great states of Washington and Oregon than our countrymen to the east. That has a lot to do with our ingredients and wines but also with the way we lead our lives: rather relaxed. But, like eastern Canadians, we're industrious, and very much accepting of cultural differences—a meritocracy, I suppose. Which may - the industrious part, I mean - well make you ask how I came to be here.

So a warm welcome. To British Columbia, where the fishers are still fishermen (a fissure is something you’re more likely to fall into on the way home from the pub), where the scenery is muscular and the mountains crash into the mighty Pacific without apology, where the citizenry is attractive and occasionally amusing, where the ancient firs and hemlocks bend to the temper of the trans-oceanic winds, and where the Asian drug gangs—for we are very much a port city—shoot a little straighter than, say, in L.A. Most people put this up to superior air quality.

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The attractive citizenry is occasionally amusing.

This picture was taken at a wedding this past summer.

My long-suffering fiancée, Eva, is pictured at the left,

with restaurateurs Harry and Michelle Kambolis, owners

of Vancouver’s Raincity Grill, C, and Nu restaurants.

I note that they were drinking, so this picture was

likely taken after breakfast. We'll be looking in on their

new restaurant venture - Nu - next week.

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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cook with chef Michael Allemeier of the Mission Hill Family Estate Winery

I forgot to ask you Jamie ... please be sure to query Michael on his experience in Lynchburg, TN at the JD BBQ Championships with Canadian Champ, Ron Shewchuck. I think Michael has been bitten by the BBQ bug, and it would be interesting to see if there's been any influence on his cuisine or the wine (Fume Blanc anyone?).

A.

Arne,

Not only has Michael become a Q convert, he's become a prostelytizer, a zealot, absolutely hardcore. When we were designing the menu for tomorrow night, he seemed to be trying to introduce certain smoky elements. And his Q Classes at the winery are instant sell-outs.

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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...

Unlike Canada’s prairie and eastern provinces our climate is mild but as precipitous as the terrain, especially in the winter months.

I am POSITIVE that you mean the climate in Vancouver not in British Columbia. Having almost lost both legs to frostbite in British Columbia (Fort Nelson), I would hate to mislead anyone about the climate. :huh:

Great blog so far, Jamie. I will be following with interest.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Unlike Canada’s prairie and eastern provinces our climate is mild but as precipitous as the terrain, especially in the winter months.

I am POSITIVE that you mean the climate in Vancouver not in British Columbia. Having almost lost both legs to frostbite in British Columbia (Fort Nelson), I would hate to mislead anyone about the climate. :huh:

Great blog so far, Jamie. I will be following with interest.

Yes, in the south Anna. It's been bitterly cold this past week in the north country, down to -35 degrees C with the wind chill. That's seriously cold, so that you leave your car running, and plan carefully to get from your front door into your front seat.

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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Fabulous blog Jamie. I grew up in Ontario and they make Ice Wine from Point Pelee grapes, very near my old homestead. How does BC ice wine compare to the Ontario variety?

Stunning photographs BTW - especially that opening shot. Also, at the end of your blog tenure you might have convinced people that they want to live in Vancouver. Explain the tax system to them for a little dose of post blog reality.

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Fabulous blog Jamie.  I grew up in Ontario and they make Ice Wine from Point Pelee grapes, very near my old homestead.  How does BC ice wine compare to the Ontario variety?

Stunning photographs BTW - especially that opening shot.  Also, at the end of your blog tenure you might have convinced people that they want to live in Vancouver.  Explain the tax system to them for a little dose of post blog reality.

Betts, somewhat vexatiously, the Ice Wines of BC and Ontario are similar but different. :hmmm: On the whole, though, I'd have to say that we're a bit sweeter. :smile:

I shouldn't comment on income or capital gains taxes, for fear of veering off-topic. What I can say is that the cost of dining in Vancouver is about 20% less than in Seattle, 25% less than San Francisco. Of course, that difference was significantly more two years ago; the Canadian dollar has gained a good deal of strength aginst yours - not so good for our tourism or film industries.

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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Unbelieveable photos, quotes like "Cheesier-Than-Mariah Carey Scalloped Potatoes" and 2 pages worth in one day....WOW. What fun!

**************************************************

Ah, it's been way too long since I did a butt. - Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

--------------------

One summers evening drunk to hell, I sat there nearly lifeless…Warren

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Treetops - a place of re-creation. It's also one of my preferred places to write.

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Many culinary luminaries have stayed at Treetops,

including Mr. Andy Lynes, the internationally acclaimed

food and drinks journalist from Lower Solway Avenue,

Brighton, England.

Here's how the view changed - November to December.

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In keeping with Blighty’s longstanding policy of shipping criminals and petty thugs to the colonies, Mr. Lynes was dispatched here last summer and grew to like the place.

Kelowna is the hub of the Okanagan Valley, a two hundred kilometre-long glacial valley rich in eluvial and volcanic soils. The name of the city means grizzly bear in the local indigenous dialect, although cougars and shaguars also run thick.

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Women fruit pickers in the Pridham orchards, ca. 1915. Photo courtesy of Kelowna Museum Archives.

Smile when you eat this apple . . . the cheerful art of selling fruit:

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For the past 125 years or so, the Valley has been a rich agricultural area, renowned for its tree fruits—especially apples and peaches, plums, pears and apricots. Lord Aberdeen’s (he would later become the Governor General of Canada) famous Coldstream Ranch, located at the north end of the valley, was famous for his prizewinning apple crops. Beginning in the 1890’s, he took great delight in shipping prized specimen of his tree crops to Covent Garden in London to upstage his English countrymen.

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Group photo of Lord and Lady Aberdeen and their children eating apples on the porch of the Coldstream Ranch, ca. 1894. Note how they study the fruit of their (actually others') labours. Photo courtesy of Kelowna Museum Archives.

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Portrait of David Leckie, my great-grandfather,

who left Edinburgh for Canada at the age of 16.

Photo courtesy of Kelowna Museum Archives.

Aberdeen's tenure in the valley barely intersected that of David Leckie, who arrived in Kelowna in the early 1900’s. David swiftly built a burgeoning hardware and lumber business; by 1912 he had built a large store and warehouse in downtown Kelowna.

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D. Leckie Hardware Store, 1904. Photo courtesy of Kelowna Museum Archives.

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In the past decade, as tree fruit crops have become less profitable, many orchards have been pulled (violin-makers rejoice when a pear orchard comes down) and replanted in grapes or housing developments. The Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) has protected the most fecund land though. There are now about 125 wineries dotted along the hillsides and benches of the valley. The three main lakes (from north to south: Kalamalka, Okanagan, Skaha) moderate the hot summer temperatures) and the two mountain ranges between the coast and the Okanagan means rainfall is about one-quarter that of Vancouver and the coastal rainforest areas.

Due to the arid, warm climate, there are some plants that you might not normally associate with the word Canada, such as

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Palm trees

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. . . and black taro. It’s alright though, the season’s over—no poi for you!

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The big reds are grown in the far south, around the towns of Osoyoos and Oliver, where the Sonoran Desert reaches its hand over the international border (49th Parallel). Summer daytime temperatures average about 35˚ C and can spike above 40; the area receives more sunlight than the Napa, and very little precipitation. In the interest of water conservation, cost and quality control, in many vineyards irrigation is being converted from overhead sprinklers to drip.

This is true desert, with rattlers, sage brush, tumbleweed and burrowing owls, whose name http://www.bovwine.ca/thewinery.htm was borrowed by a local winery of reputation.

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Clustered near the southern tip of Okanagan Lake, near Okanagan Falls, Penticton and Naramata, the vines begin to turn to pinot noir and white varietals. Closer to Kelowna, northern varietals such as gewurtztraminer and reisling are more prevalent.

As the population has grown, and culinary and wine tourists seek it out, the valley has seen a tremendous growth in specialized farming. Just one example is our neighbour, Milan Djordjevich (aka The Tomato Man), who supplies 14 varieties of organic tomatoes and several of table grapes to the province’s restaurants and public markets.

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Types of tomatoes from left to right and where there are tomatoes below, top to bottom:

Early Cascade, Green Zebra, Sungold (cherry tomato), Druzba (big cracked red), Striped German, Black Krim (purple), Wonderlight (yellow lemon), Black Prince, Striped Cavern (orange), Black Plum, Czech Excellent Yellow, Pink Beauty.

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The tomatoes simply wouldn’t taste as good if Aunty Prim didn’t supervise our basket.

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Basket of Milan's tomatoes and ‘French Tickler’ cauliflower

Tomorrow we’ll be cooking with some of Milan’s late summer product, which has been canned for your viewing pleasure, and will be used in the braise of boar cheeks.

And so to work. We're off to review a nearby restaurant.

Back in a while then . . .

Jamie

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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“Like the more conventional forms of oral sex, food writing is an acquired taste. It’s rife with pleasure, certainly, but also with fear and even latent danger ...”

:laugh: Oh dear. I could riff off of this opening simile for days ... except that it would not only go way the hell off-topic, but way the hell off-color (erm, fear and danger in oral sex? No wait, I said I wasn't going to go there, didn't I? Dang ... ) :laugh:

What I really meant to say: an an ex-resident of the Greater Pacific Northwest (south-of-the-border contingent, with frequent visits north), I am mightily looking forward to enjoying this blog.

I've even visited the Okanagan Valley once, but it was over a decade ago, and I didn't get a chance on that all-too-brief visit to check out any of the local agriculture--so thanks, Jamie, for filling me in on everything I missed.

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Thanks also for posting the fascinating historical photos, including your great grandfather settler. What a handsome guy! The background goes quite far in getting a feel for some aspects of the region and how it has developed. Thanks for your terrific effort!

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Yeah, Ludja, I'm falling for his great grandpa myself. He has such a modern, clear gaze.

You sure have access to some fabulous photos, Jamie. Did you take a lot of them yourself? This is shaping to be a completely unique blog.

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Good God............this is going to be an incredible journey! I dream of relocating to Vancouver, your really causing me to fall deeper in love with the area. If your not careful your going to insight a mass exodus from the States. If I practice perfecting my crossiants would you need a live-in baker/pc?

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Yeah, Ludja, I'm falling for his great grandpa myself.  He has such a modern, clear gaze. 

You sure have access to some fabulous photos, Jamie.  Did you take a lot of them yourself?  This is shaping to be a completely unique blog.

Yes, Abra, we harvested many of the photos from the last six months of a year well spent. I truly wanted you to see this valley, in black and white, then in its true colours.

Thanks so much for joining us on our wee tour,

Jamie

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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Now a little background on how we review:

For a feature review we try to visit the restaurant several times:

Late in the week at the top of the slam to see both the service staff and the line under pressure—i.e. at 8:00; early in the week (on a one-turn night) at 6:30 to watch the restaurant fill; and again for a lunch, if available. Quite often other editors visit as well. But we rely on our own experience first and foremost, and in visiting the restaurant several times, attempt to fully navigate the menu. Quite often this means taking friends, which only partly explains my enormous popularity throughout beautiful downtown Kitsilano.

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We evaluate each restaurant that we review using a set template. We use a 20-point system to rate the food; service; and décor/ambience/cleanliness. We weight the marks 80 percent food and 20 percent for the latter two. But we leave upward leeway for pure magic, and we’ll mark down severely for attitude, pretension and anything short of clean premises. Using this system, we would rate top Canadian restaurants such as Lumière, Susur, and West at 17 to 18 out of 20. A restaurant such as Jean-Georges in NYC would merit 18 to 19; L’Arnsbourg ( afavourite because of its relaxed approach to three-star Michelin dining) in Alsace 19. Some big names that fell short in the last few years: Spago Beverly Hills at 13; Chaya (Los Angeles) 11; Café Boulud 14.5.

Each September, we publish The Eating & Drinking Guide to British Columbia . . .

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EDG is a year-round project, and tonight we’ll be going to a restaurant in Kelowna to update our files, and to see if it measures up to or exceeds its previous scoring of 14, which qualified it for a one out of three star rating.

We don’t expect every dining room, at every price point, to be elaborately decorated—in fact, just like the presentation on the plate, we prefer it otherwise. What we do expect, however, is that the décor of the room will reflect the food and that it will be intimate. We like a buzz too, but too much noise is our enemy. Careworn is alright, but dirty is not.

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And the food, let it be said again, is foremost. Many times we’ve rated inexpensive, plainly decorated dining rooms very highly. Why?—because the food sings, the owners are friendly and informative, and everyone has a great night. Examples: Phnom Penh (14.5) and Hapa (14), both in Vancouver, and The Swan Oyster Depot (14) in San Francisco.

In using this methodology we make an honest attempt to view the owner’s restaurant as a business. One thing that I find desperately unfair is certain reviewers’ propensity to evaluate solely based on a single, shotgun, two-hour visit on the cusp of the Friday slam. A financial reporter would be held accountable for such disregard for due diligence, but many so-called restaurant critics (some in alarmingly high places with vast audiences) seem to get away with it. I’m sure you have seen this too.

We use a template for each and every restaurant—it allows us to judge every place we visit on an even basis, and allows us to refer back objectively. I can’t share that, because its proprietary and has taken a while to develop, but here is the essence—now all we have to do is make it entertaining.

The Telltales

Service:

• Was there a gracious, welcoming greeting, and a smooth and timely transition from reception to table?

• How long was the transition from table seating to order-taking for wine or cocktails? A minute is good, more than three is a mark-down. More than five is poor.

• Was the bread served immediately? A pet peeve: bread served only after the food order is taken.

• Were the servers well-informed about the set menu, and the specials? Pet peeve: Not quoting the prices on oral specials. Was the wine server knowledgeable and budget-savvy? Did he/she try to up-sell unnecessarily? Were there wines on the list unavailable? Were the glasses properly sized for the wines selected? Did he/she open the Champagne as discreetly as a duchess breaking wind?

• Is the server unobtrusive at table, removing spent dishes quickly and quietly, taking care not to interrupt carefully rehearsed punch lines or entreaties of seduction and never over-filling wineglasses? Is the water topped up? Do they oversell expensive bottled water?

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• Does the server walk past you empty-handed (a “walkaway”) when your table needs attention?

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• During a multi-course tasting menu, we expect the dishes to be served on 20-minute centres, or at least three per hour. We expect to see no more than five minutes between starter removal and entrée put-down on an à la carte menu, slightly longer is OK for dessert or cheese.

• Is a corked bottle of wine received back graciously?

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• Did the server ask the QC gracefully? What you don’t want to hear: “Is everything all right?” or “Does everything meet or exceed your flavour expectations.” Better: “Is everything prepared to your liking?” or simply, “May I get anything more for you right now?”

• We might make a minor adjustment to the service, such as ordering a sauce on the side, to see how the server and kitchen respond.

• Is the pepper mill the size of an outdoor chess piece? Are the napkins stuck in your wine glass? Are they made of nylon?

Cleanliness:

• Is the restaurant clean, front- and back-of-house, washrooms too? Careworn and character can be good, dirty is very bad. Inexcusable, in fact.

• Are there any tell-tale signals of food hazard: supplies in the back hall, dirty bussing containers, grimy silver or glasses, warm sushi, cold poultry centres, separated egg-based sauces, warm potato salad, loose-textured or ‘leaky’ fish, unkempt servers with dirty hands?

Décor/Ambiance:

• Does the room, no matter the design or budget, allow you to feel comfortable and relaxed, or do you feel either on show or just overwhelmed. Is it intimate at your table? The décor should not be at odds with what you’re about to eat, and if it’s a flamboyant theatre-like space with grim food—bye bye. Bigger marks for intimacy, achievable even in large rooms. Perfection: whether cosy or streamlined moderne, the ideal room is a rectangle of about 1.5 to 1, with extra marks for an attractive outdoor patio, a comfortable bar, subtle music if any, good chairs and snowy linen. But just as good: barbecue and lots of napkins and really good iced tea.

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The Food

Generic:

Soup: So often an afterthought, soup is the food critic’s friend. Is it distinctively flavoured, with complex tastes that slowly change in the mouth, revealing ramps of flavour? Or is it ‘cream of cream’ or redolent of chicken stock, the two most common pitfalls of inexperienced or careless cooks. Is it an afterthought? After tasting the soup, you should be able to tell if the chef has fought with his girlfriend or just made love.

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In this case, chef didn't get lucky tonight.

Salad: Are the leaves absolutely fresh? Are the other items fresh and well-chosen? Is the dressing interesting, flavourful and properly seasoned?

• Are the flavours ‘clean’ or muddy? Exciting, distinctive, and complementary on the plate?

• Is there too much going on? Complication without complexity when we want the reverse? Is the presentation too elaborate or ridiculously vertical? Did the chef waste the life of an innocent branch of rosemary by skyscrapering it into a glop of mashed potatoes?

• Absolute mark-down: the protein, especially steak, cantilevered over the starch, especially mashed potatoes—the steam will turn it to liver in half a minute and also turn its texture mealy.

• Is there too much dependence on deep-frying, especially in a Chinese or casual restaurant?

Vegetables: Also the food critic’s friend because they too are often an afterthought. Telltales: grilled bell peppers and zucchini seeking maximum plate cover but minimal flavour impact. Beautifully sourced, appropriately prepared vegetables in season are a sure sign the chef is paying attention.

• Are the sauces complex and deep, or sharp (or bland) and monotonous?

Desserts: Are they store-bought or made in-house? Are they interesting? Just asking, because I’d like to strangle that guy who invented tiramisu, death by choclate, flavoured crème brulee, and industrial lemon meringue pie. More summer cobblers, please.

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Chocolate disasters are always better when one improvises at home.

Please excuse this modest Canadian experiment. [Thank you Kim]

Cheeses: well-managed and diverse.

Wine list: local, long-distance, no more than a 100% mark-up, useful pairings, good selection of crossover bottles (i.e. pinots that will pair with fish or beef.); good house wines (carafes) and half-bottles selection.

Cuisine Specific:

Italian: Spaghettini (angel hair pasta) and the simplest tomato-based sauces on the menu, preferably marinara. Angel hair won’t hold and there’s no fudging the freshness of marinara: both of which prove that the simplest menu items are often the most difficult to prepare really well. I’ve had many a bad hair day.

French: Butter: is the chef using too much to bind his potatoes, coat his vegetables, enrich his proteins and gloss his sauces? Unfortunately, there’s only one way to tell—if your hair turns greasy before dessert or you get a coupon for a double-bypass discount with the bill.

Chinese: Noodle soups must have crystalline stocks. Greasy rolls. Indistinct dim sum. Unfettered, whole fish. Omami, that ebullient fifth taste. Crappy wine lists.

Indian: Flavours become one big muddy river after only two courses. Butter chicken sauce separates. Butter chicken. Wine lists that don’t support the spicing. Poor condiments. Mark-ups: Clean, fresh, distinct flavours; excellent chutneys—especially fresh mint-mango as a re-set button.

Japanese: Mark-downs for—slimy fish, thick tempura, heated sake, smelly room, impostor cut-men, jeroboams of cheap soy sauce. Mark-ups: reasonably priced, artisanal sakes; ancient, well-tended knives; seven-year apprenticeships in Kyoto; real wasabi, pale, house-pickled ginger.

Greek: Generic menus, cheap feta, overdone kabob meats, generic salads, lack of bottarga.

gallery_12924_2165_42897.jpg

"What the world needs now is fewer restaurant critics, and longer sausages."

Regional: Over-complication, over-presentation, out-of-season, esoteric.

Seafood: Anything commercially endangered or extirpated such as orange roughy, Chilean sea bass, rockfish, ling cod, coho salmon, Russian caviar etc. Overdone, gummable filets. Mark-ups: viable and tasty—sardines, pink salmon, halibut, salmon roe, etc. Whole fish grilled with oil, lemon and salt and pepper.

Steakhouse: Expensive sides, barbecue sauce, button mushrooms, bad potatoes, ‘red salt’ flavour enhancers, unripe tomatoes, ridiculous Cabernet mark-ups, stuffy décor, men in bad golf pants, running out of medium rare prime rib by eight o’clock. Mark-ups: For any well-made salad that isn’t Caesar or blue cheese, fresh horseradish, sautéed spinach, wild mushrooms.

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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Thank you Jamie for answering my question about the Tobacco.

Do you ever make it to the Mediterranean Market on Gordon or Valoroso Foods?

I used to live 2 blocks away from the market before I moved back to Vancouver.

Besides Milan at Stoney Paradise... where are your favourite places to shop for food in Kelowna?

We always make sure to do a stop at the fruit packers on our way out of town....

Used to love shopping at the stands near/on Benvoulin Rd.

Do you think that the large forest fire (in 2003?) affected more than just forest land and the KVR trestles? (food wise, or wine wise that is..) I know that we had a bumper crop of morels in 2004, just like the bumper crop after the Salmon Arm fire a few years back.

O.K....I'll stop asking questions now.

:wink:

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