Vancouver Olympics – New Foods 4

I am reviewing the list that Vancouver Magazine started in 2008 as the Best Foods to try in Vancouver. That’s your own Olympic challenge!

21. Mariage Frères Tea
Global commerce has come into its own, and with the internet people are much more aware of what’s out there, and what’s great! This tea is legendary, and not so long ago, these teas had to be hand-carried from Paris. Mariage Frères Tea are served in only the best tea shops and many favor Nil Noir, which is a classic black tea with a citrus cloak. Mariage Frères plan expansion into North America, but meanwhile, get it in person at Urban Tea Merchant, 825 Main St., Park Royal, West Vancouver, 604-926-3392

If you are planning a trip to Paris, then go in person to their elegant tea-room in the Marais district (the oldest part of Paris); it’s open from M-Sun Noon-7pm at:
30-32 rue du Bourg-Tibourg, Paris, 75004
Métro: Hôtel de ville
+33 1 42 72 28 11
The atmosphere is quite formal there and very refined. Over 500 teas from around the world may be tasted. Sip rare flavors or house-blends in the salon, or you can take them home, as you prefer. Also sold are a selection of sweets, biscuits, jams and magnificent Chinese teapots. Hospitality and service are impeccably professional. Mariage Frères Teashop is a sensory experience from start to finish, from the moment you walk in the door and are greeted by the rich and overwhelming scent of tea until the check is proffered on a silver tray, by a white-gloved waiter. At the center of the tea room was an opulent table with a glistening array of desserts and pastries that look as if they belong in a famous oil painting. And the hundreds of teas are listed in a tea menu that goes on for pages and is classifying the various teas by country of origin. (Who knew there were so many teas from, New Zealand?)

Try the Bourbon tea, which was described as a classic French selection, or the Marco Polo Rouge, a red tea from Africa, as each is amazing. For non-tea drinkers, the flavors are remarkable, complex and a real revelation. You’ll muse: “So this is what tea is all about!” While waiting, there’s also a little tea museum upstairs.

22. Vanilla-Salt Chocolates
The Mexican Aztec Emperor was plied with chocolate drinks constantly throughout the day, as it was considered a sacred drink. And, when you place one of Wendy Boys’s vanilla-salt chocolates on your tongue, you’ll sense that the hit of fragrant salt just slices through the faint bitterness of the cocoa (chocolate is naturally bitter, and the higher cacao content is what is needed for “heart healthy” chocolate, so healthy chocolate will be bittersweet, at best). Therefore, it’s inspired to balance the bitterness with the neutralizing quality of salt, lightly, rather than sugar, heavily. This heavenly pure bliss is courtesy of Lumière’s pastry chef. Lumiere2551 W. Broadway, 604-739-8185.

23. Fabulous Pasta — Penne With Wild Boar
Pino Posteraro of Cioppino’s makes incredibly light, almost ethereal pasta dishes using just about anything; if you happen to be there when there’s wild boar on the menu, it may be time to swoon. Cioppino’s, 1133 Hamilton St., 604-688-7466

24. David Wood’s Chèvre Goat Cheese
Goats are omnivores which eat the wild plants of the landscape they reside in; they usually aren’t being given silage. So, the inverted domes of goat cheese, which are the often delicately-decorated upside-down cakes of the dairy world, have become so ubiquitous that we sometimes forget how distinctly regional these chèvres are. Davis Wood’s are the local favorite with flavors which include basil, chili, and lemon. The plain Jane with the petal decoration is the classic. You can purchase them at Capers (Whole Foods) and Choices, various locations.

25. Savary Island’s Tourtière
This tart is made from a secret, traditional Québécois recipe. The instructions are to bake it again at home until the pastry is a deep, dark brown and the filling is piping hot. Then, add plenty of cracked black pepper and a dollop of ketchup. The place is wheelchair accessible, and has no outdoor seating. You can also order their food to go: great bread, pies, muffins, soups and more. It’s small and often REALLY busy. Savary Island Pie Company, 1533 Marine Dr., West Vancouver, 604-926-4021. Learn more about the traditional pie, which began in the 1600’s, at: Québécois Tourtière recipes and lore

26. Black Hills Alibi
This blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon may be B.C.’s Okanagan Valley’s best white wine. It’s luscious fruity flavors of pineapple with grapefruit acidity, and overtones of herbs and spice. And, the terroir of its vineyard is amazingly dry and sunny — just perfect for these grapes. The vineyard was first planted in 1996 and it has been producing increasingly better and awarded wine grapes with each vintage. You can buy their wines online by the case from the winery, but look for local opportunities to try them first. Black Hills Winery

27. The Green Party cocktail
The Ocean Club’s Green Party has lemongrass-infused vodka shaken with Limon Giallo Giffard, pineapple juice, fresh lemon, simple syrup, muddled fresh ginger and cilantro. It’s worth a trip. Ocean Club, 105–100 Park Royal, West Vancouver, 604-926-2326

28. Cricket Bread
This may be a bit of a sticky-wicket to describe, but it has nothing to do with playing cricket! Rather, it’s the real thing, made of 70 percent ground cricket, 30 percent chapati flour, plus spices, buttermilk and canola oil. Many places in the world use crickets and other insects for protein and they are actually quite nutritious. This flatbread has a rustic, earthy flavor, and it is utterly delicious. Try it at Vancouver’s famous Vij’s, 1480 W. 11th Ave., 604-736-6664

29. Deep-Fried Zucchini Blossoms
Maybe it’s the short season that makes them so appealing, and you don’t have to drive thousands of miles to Arizona or New Mexico, either. Maybe it’s the impossibly delicate batter and the miracle which emerges like a butterfly. Maybe it’s the way they will dissolve in your mouth, almost like cotton candy does. Whatever it is, see if Pino Posteraro happens to have them on the menu. Cioppino’s, 1133 Hamilton St., 604-688-7466

30. Japadog
Now, here’s great fusion cuisine and some of the best fast-food in Vancouver. With the City’s high Asian population, it was bound to happen — the Asian-inspired hot-dog on bun. Try the kurobuta frank (which is the pork equivalent of Kobe beef) — its plump casing has a satisfying snap when you bite into it. Make sure you use the sides of Japanese seaweed, daikon relish and soy. The wasabi mayonnaise is a great addition to the all-beef sausage and both Anthony Bourdain and Samantha Brown, both of the Travel Channel, agree that the wasabi mayo and Japadog are a great find! The Asian hot-dogs make a delicious twist on traditional street meat choices, and the pair of Japanese vendors have traditional Japanese courtesy, and concern. Japadog, Burrard and Haro streets

Enjoy!

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