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Partnering once again with the team at VANEATS, we were invited to sample the #TurnOnTheRajio package. If you remember, last time we checked out Rajio we quite enjoyed it, so I was happy to plan a return visit and I invited LW to join me.

#TurnOnTheRajio by VANEATS.ca

Food

Before we began eating, we ordered a Smashing Hit Punch. At first it looked a bit steep at $12, but it was more than a drink. First, it’s served in this cute watermelon cup. In addition to the cocktail, they also cut the watermelon in cubes and placed them in the cup. Did you know that watermelon works like sponges? The fruit pieces just soaked up all the alcohol so when you eat them they’re extra delicious! It’s like a spiked fruit salad!

Smashing Hit Punch

Now, onto the food. The VANEATS package includes 4 items:

The Kushikatsu is the house specialty. For this package you will be given 4 deep-fried, panko-breaded skewers at random, upon chef’s recommendation. I have looked at other bloggers’ photos and we all seemed to get different things. I got to try 1) Camerbet cheese, 2) Takoyaki, 3) Beef, and 4) Asparagus. All these skewers come with the house dipping sauce. The skewers themselves do not have a lot of seasoning, but the sauce adds some sweet and savouriness to them, accentuating the flavours. Now remember, only one dunk per skewer. Why? It was recommended by the restaurant; I suspect it has to do with softening the breading and affecting the crispy exterior.

Kushikatsu

The Bagna Cauda is your Japanese twist of veggie and dip. Continue Reading »

[Recipe] Fresh Peach Pie

Now that summer is behind us, it’s time to celebrate the bounty of fall stone fruit such as peaches and apples. With our trip to the Okanagan, we of course bought some gorgeous peaches. And what do you do when you have a lot to go through? You can freeze them, canned them, give them away…for us, we made pie!

Recipe

I have shared the Simple Pie Crust Recipe with you before and sure enough I used it for my crust. The recipe will make a double crust for a 9in pie, plus some depending on how thin you roll it.

Peach Pie (Before)

Ingredients

For the filling, we used:

  • 2lb Fresh Peaches (roughly 5 large peaches)
  • 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 3 tablespoons All Purpose Flour
  • 2-3 tablespoon Unsalted Butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon Salt

Directions Continue Reading »

I have been invited to an Amex Platinum Cardmember Dinner at Hawksworth on September 30, a unique dining experience created as part of Amex’s Taste from Platinum Dining Program. We will be enjoying the first tastes of Fall in the luxurious private York Room, celebrating the fresh, seasonal local produce.

The Event

When: Tuesday, September 30, 6-9pm
Where: Hawksworth Restaurant, York Room, 801 West Georgia Street, Vancouver

Not only will this feature a specially crafted menu, but this will also include wine pairings. Maybe there will be a meet and greet with Chef David Hawksworth too!

Beautiful Pencil Drawing of Chef David

What is the Taste from Platinum Dining Program?

As an Amex Platinum Cardmember, you have access to exceptional travel, dining and entertainment benefits, and invitation to exclusive dinners. Through the Taste from Platinum Dining Program, Cardmembers get to enjoy a unique dining experience and perks at 65 of the most acclaimed restaurants in the country, plus hundreds around the world. Continue Reading »

If you think our Okanagan trip ended on the Golden Mile Bench, you’re wrong. We decided to venture further north, driving more than 50 km, to Penticton, and visit another famous wine region – Naramata Bench. That area has just as many, if not more, wineries as Oliver/Osoyoos. We only had time to check out four wineries, so it was really difficult to shortlist from the dozens of wineries in the area.

Nichol Vineyard

Wines Along the Naramata Bench

The wineries in this area are situated above sand cliffs that rise from the Okanagan Lake, with vineyards sloping up to the mountains behind. While you are enjoying some great wine, you will also get to take in a gorgeous view of the Okanagan Lake. Here is a recap of the wineries we visited, and wines we liked and didn’t like, strictly from a personal preference standpoint.

Nichol Vineyard

While most wineries in the region compete with each other over attractive signage, or even grandiose wine shop and tasting room, Nichol goes for the opposite. Located at the north most end of the Naramata Bench, if you don’t pay close attention, you might actually miss the turn-off to the winery.

It’s a neat little wine shop at the top of the vineyard, and it looks just like someone’s house. But it has some patio seating that allows you to enjoy a glass of wine, or even your packed lunch, over this view:

View at Nichol Vineyard

Because they sold out some of the varietals over a busy summer, we only got to try 4 of their wines. The Pinot Gris is definitely the gem in the lineup. The grapes were gently crushed and left to settle on the skins for 36 hours, giving the wine this salmon hue and a hint of tannin. It’s dry, citrusy, with the aroma of stone fruit. I usually prefer slightly sweeter white but I really enjoyed this one.

I was hoping to try its Cab Franc but it wasn’t available for tasting. Now I need to try finding it elsewhere; I think I will like it as well.

Winery website: www.nicholvineyard.com

Nichol Vineyard

Bench 1775 Winery

Remember I talked about the lack of flashy sign for Nichol? What caught our attention about Bench 1775 was its successful use of signs — “Canada’s Best Pinot Gris”, “The Best View of the Lake” — now we’re intrigued.

Bench 1775 Winery

Bench 1775 certainly has a great view! What makes it better is that its patio is extended right to the water so you are much closer to the Okanagan Lake and the water view is quite spectacular.
Continue Reading »

Last year when we went camping in Oliver, we checked out a number of wineries along the Black Sage Bench. But Oliver is the Wine Capital of Canada, of course they have more wineries to offer! So when we were in Osoyoos this summer, we headed north and stopped by the wineries along the Golden Mile Bench, another area known for its great wines.

Vineyards along Golden Mile Bench

Wines Along the Golden Mile Bench

Keep in mind that while we drink a fair share of wine through the years, but we don’t consider ourselves wine experts. This post is more to share our experience at each winery. We picked out ones that we know of, or ones with an interesting name, or simply made an impulse turn based on how the winery looks. We will tell you what we like and what we don’t like, from a personal preference standpoint.

Rustico Farm & Cellars

Laugh all you want, but the name of this winery just caught my attention. Rustico – there must be something rustic about this place. And boy, were we in for a pleasant surprise! The heritage house, the vineyards, the donkey brothers and the tasting room – this just has so much character.

Rustico Farm & CellarsRustico Farm & Cellars

We got inside the “Tasting Saloon” and felt the warm welcome from the staff, even though the space was packed! Their wines all some have cheeky names. Among the number of wines we tried, here is what we liked:

  • Farmer’s Daughter – A dry Gewurztraminer, citrusy and fragrant
  • Saloon Sally – A Cabernet Franc Rose, surprisingly fruit forward
  • Last Chance – A red blend of Zinfandel, Merlot, Zweigelt, Blaufrankisch, Chancellor. Because they no longer plant the Chancellor, now is literally the last chance to purchase this wine.
  • Threesome - Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot blend. This has the body to pair with rich, saucy dishes, or just a nice piece of steak.

Winery website: rusticowinery.com

Rustico Farm & CellarsRustico Farm & Cellars

Road 13 Vineyards

I have tried Road 13’s wines a number of times. The most memorable was at the Vancouver Home + Design Show Pop-up Dinner last year. Therefore, I wanted to visit the winery and try a few more of their wines. As soon as we got there, we saw a castle at the end of Road 13 (yes, the street is called Road 13), overlooking a gorgeous view of the vineyard and beyond. If you are looking for a castle wedding, this is the place! Continue Reading »

In addition to Fliptop, we also discovered an interesting dessert truck at the Columbia StrEAT event. This truck sells one thing, an East European dessert called Slavic Roll, hence the truck name “Slavic Rolls”.

Slavic Rolls Truck

Food

The slavic roll is a big hollow donut-like pastry cylinder. They make it by wrapping a long strip of dough around this cylindrical baking apparatus, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, then it is placed in a rotisserie oven to bake.

Making Slavic Rolls

For $5.99 you get one Slavic Roll and two types of filling. They smear a healthy serving of filling on the two ends of the cylinder, give it a nice squish and they are ready to be eaten. You can get one with three fillings for $6.99.

Baked Slavic Roll

We ordered one with the Bavarian Cream and Nutella. Continue Reading »

Last weekend we checked out the Columbia StrEAT in New Westminster, featuring more than 50 food trucks from the Lower Mainland. We tried a few trucks, including Fliptop Filipino Fusion. This food truck is usually in the Fairview area during the week, not in my ‘hood, so I was quite excited about the opportunity to try them.

Fliptop Filipino Fusion

Food

Suggested by the truck name, their menu is a fusion of North American favourites with Filipino flavours. You would find pulled pork sandwich, philly cheesesteak, sliders and tacos with a Filipino twist. Two things caught my eyes.

First, Lumpiang Shanghai is the meat version of Lumpia, which are deep fried spring rolls in rice roll wrappers. These mini spring rolls were perfect for sharing, and they tasted awesome! I would’ve preferred just a bit more soy or seasoning in the meat, but I liked that there was a lot of meat in the filling, no fillers! Spring rolls were crispy, and we really enjoyed the sprinkle of nori (seaweed) and fried leeks on top. The dipping sauce reminded me of Thai chili sauce, but thinner and more acidic. $7 for 6 of these springs rolls was a pretty good deal.

Lumpiang Shanghai

Next was the Pacman Pandesal Sliders. Pandesal is Filipino bread roll; they were firmer, denser with a cake-like texture. Continue Reading »

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