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Archive for the ‘Culinary Events’ Category

This year, Vancouver International Wine Festival celebrated its 50th anniversary with feature countries Spain and Portugal. Just like previous years, I drank my way through the big tasting room. But this year my focus was on the Ports.

2018 Vancouver International Wine Festival

What is Port Wine?

Port Wine (“Vinho do Porto” in Portuguese) is a Portuguese fortified wine produced exclusively in the Douro Valley in Portugal. It is a sweet, red wine, often served as a dessert wine. Although you may find fortified wines outside Portugal (e.g. Vista D’oro makes an awesome walnut port-style wine), only the product from Portugal may be labelled as Port or Porto.

Through the tasting and in talking with the wine reps, I’ve learned about the different styles of port:

Ruby Port is the most extensively produced type. It’s usually stored in stainless steel tanks to prevent oxidation and preserve its bright red colour and full-bodied fruitiness.

Tawny Ports are aged in wooden barrels, exposing them to gradual oxidation and evaporation. They turn into a golden-brown colour and the oxidation gives the wine nutty, caramel, and/or prune, raisin notes. If there isn’t any indication of age, it’s just a generalization that the wine has spent time in wooden barrels.

Late Bottled Vintage (often referred to simply as LBV) is typically bottled between four and six years after the vintage, with similar quality like a Vintage Port. If the LBV is filtered, it’s not meant to be aged.

Vintage Port is made entirely from grapes of the same vintage year. They may be aged in barrels for 2-3 years before bottling. You can drink it right away but it’s meant to be cellared for decades as it improves with age.

Here is what I tried:

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Earlier this month, as media, I was invited to attend the 3rd annual Science of Cocktails event at the Science World. It was the perfect venue as the Science World was transformed into a giant lab where drinks were changing from blue to pink, bananas being sous vide in honey, popcorn was frozen with liquid nitrogen, a “toothpaste” palate cleanser, smoking herbs, vaporized gin & tonic, fermentation, a sniffing station, foodies pulling themselves up a lift… the list goes on!

Science of Cocktails 2018

Science of Cocktails 2018Science of Cocktails 2018

Science of Cocktails 2018

Science of Cocktails 2018Science of Cocktails 2018

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The official Dine Out Vancouver may have ended on Sunday, but some restaurants have decided to offer the Dine Out menus just for a few more days.

Dine Out at Smoke and Bones

Dine Out at Smoke and Bones

Here are their respective extended end date and menu. The list is much shorter than previous years. I will keep updating the list if I hear more.

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Chinese New Year is Feb. 16, 2018 and it’s the Year of the Dog. Need ideas to celebrate CNY this year? Here is a roundup for you:

TWG Tea:

During the month of February, you can order the Lunar New Year Tea Set at TWG Tea, which includes savoury canapés and tea infused desserts. They have also launched the Breakfast Bulldog Tea for the occasion.

Red Racer Lucky Dog:

Central City Brewers + Distillers has launched the Red Racer Lucky Dog Kumquat Wheat Ale, a Chinese New Year collaboration with Taiwan’s Redpoint Brewing Co. It’s a seasonal wheat ale brewed with fresh kumquats, a sweet and fragrant citrus fruit traditionally eaten during the lunar new year celebrations.

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Having done Dine Out Vancouver for so many years now, frankly I’m feeling burnout. To me, a lot of the menus are not very inspiring; or I question the value for the money. So this year, I set out to try to discover gems that don’t require you to pay $40 yet still feel hungry afterwards.

I was invited to bring a guest (guess whom I brought?) to sample the Dine Out menu of a Donnelly Group restaurant of my choice, including wine pairings. They are all $20 menus. After perusing them, I decided on the Granville Room. Why? I will get to that in a moment.

Food

There are two choices for appetizer. Naturally, we ordered one of each. The Coconut Fried Prawns were nice and crunchy. Mr. (ding-ding!) thought the coating was too thick to taste the prawns but I thought it’s okay. The prawns had good texture, a bit bouncy and not mushy. What’s intriguing is the dipping sauce. It’s a coconut hoisin sauce. When it said hoisin I expected the sauce to be darker in colour, but it’s just a tinted creamy white colour. It had a lot of coconut flavour but it’s not too sweet thanks to the subtle use of hoisin sauce. The prawns themselves did not have any coconut; it’s all in the sauce.

Wine pairing: Desert Hills Viognier – The fried prawns actually mellowed out the acidity in the viognier.

Coconut Fried Prawns

Beef Rib Empanada was also a hand-held appy. There were two pieces on the plate, served with a mole sauce. The sauce was rich, thick, and had some smokey flavour that didn’t overpower everything. (more…)

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Dine Out Vancouver is back! Running from January 19 to February 4, more than 300 restaurants are offering prix fixe menus and more than 35 special events are planned over this 2-week period.

Ocean Wise Pop-up Cafe 2017 Dine Out

Vancouver Aquarium Pop-up Restaurant 2017 Dine Out

The 3-course dinner are priced at $20, $30 or $40. Some restaurants may charge extra for special menu items. Some restaurants are also offering a lunch menu, which could be at a cheaper price point. The menus are now live and reservations are open. Pretty excited about some of the participating restaurants this year. After perusing the menus, here are our suggestions, based on past experience (Dine Out or not) as well as menu attractiveness. I’ve included links to the menu to make it easier for you:

$20 Suggestions

$30 Suggestions

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On October 21, 2017, winners of this year’s BC Beer Awards were named. The ceremony was held in conjunction of a tasting event at the Croatian Cultural Centre. Over 65 breweries set up a booth and showcased their beers while celebrating with their peers as winners of 30 award categories were being announced.

BC Beer Awards

This year’s theme was SMaSH (Single Malt and Single Hop), so participating breweries were challenged to create a single malt and single hop beer to be considered for the Brewers Challenge Award.

BC Beer Awards

BC Beer Awards

BC Beer Awards received 879 entries from 97 breweries. The judging took place over 3 days and was performed by a panel of BJPC (Beer Judge Certification Program) and Cicerone judges from all over the Cascadia. (more…)

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