Vancouver Olympics – New Foods 7

Everyone is looking for good food, especially during the Winter Olympic Games, after standing and sitting out in the cold! Here are choices to experience in the Vancouver’s casual and fine restaurants and also some product suggestions for items you can take home!

This post continues my version of the series based on the 2008 List in Vancouver Magazine’s “100 Foods to Try Before You Die” from “Vancouver’s Best Foods”! Double-check these items are still available, as with this faltering economy, nothing is a sure-thing anymore.

51. Mission Hill Oculus Cherries
Cherries are a member of the prunus family botanically, and anything with cherries is a favorite for me, so I was excited to hear about Vancouver Chef Michael Allemeier’s idea of macerating luscious organic Okanagan cherries in Mission Hill’s award-winning wine. It was a stroke of pure genius. Edible BC, 565–1689 Johnston St., Granville Island, 604-662-3606

52. Georgian Baguettes
I love baguettes, but mostly I am used to the French version, and those used for Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwiches. So I was surprised to see the thinner, long Georgian version. There’s something primal about using just your teeth to tear off a chunk from one of Otari Kobalia’s organic Georgian beauties. They are softer, chewier, more rustic and more satisfying accordingly, than their French counterparts. European Breads Bakery, 4324 Fraser St., 604-879-5177

53. Double Chocolate Porter
Beer in any form is not my thing, although I do like beer bread. I’ve tried, I honestly have, but I’ve yet to really enjoy a glass. About 6-8 months ago, I believe I tried a sip of my husband’s chocolate Porter in one our local Pacific Northwest breweries here in town, and I didn’t like it. I do not know if this one is any better or if the original foodies just like beer more than I do. They said this version is “malty, earthy, dark, and chocolate-y”, well you’ll have to make that decision. Phillips Brewing Co.. Made in Victoria, BC and available in all BC Liquor Stores.

54. Rosemary Raspberry Sea Salt
For my palate, this is a complex and unexpected pairing, but Maison Côté’s rosemary-raspberry sea salt is a coliseum of flavor. An unusual suggestion is sprinkling it on vanilla ice cream — chefs know that salty always heightens sweet tastes, so I see the logic. Edible B.C., 565–1689 Johnston St., Granville Island, 604-662-3606

55. Scallops in Octopus Bacon
Oh, this is hard for me to consider, as octopi are very smart, sensient, sensitive, talented creatures. I have eaten octopus, and it is delicious, but I don’t eat it anymore, as I feel bad for them being up against a superior life-form and possibly understanding that.

In this preparation, the micro-thin shaving of octopus tentacle is used to wrap the juicy, meaty scallop. It imparts a flavor like a maritime variation of prosciutto. Chef Rob Clark’s pairing is “unexpected, elusive, and sublime”. C Restaurant, 2–1600 Howe St., 604-681-1164

56. Lamb Bacon
Lamb is enjoyed throughout the former British Empire. Americans are only beginning to understand lamb’s allure.The Jewish Morrocan Merquez sausages are a perfect case in point; they are sublime. Lamb three ways at Fuel Restaurant used to include: seared sous-vide tenderloin and merguez piled high atop saffron braised fennel with burnt orange sauce. But their capper was the house-cured lamb bacon: crispy and fatty and gamey; you’d want to eat it with your fingers. Fuel is no longer in business at 1944 W. Fourth Ave., (it now houses a more-affordable Pacific Northwest style of food cafe with the same owners), so you may still find the lamb bacon (or ask about it).

57. Bad Girl Hazelnut Truffles
These pyramidal hazelnut truffles come in a box with a ’50s pinup girl on it (hence the name), and the delicious, sublime, rich, dark chocolate shell encases delectable hazelnut cream. I have always loved this pairing – whether in candy or in cakes and tortes. You just can’t beat this pyramid of perfection. Bad Girl Chocolates 3476 W. Broadway, 604-736-7080

58. Xiaolongbao
The Chinese invented pasta, and when Marco Polo brought it to Italy and Europe, it was an instant hit, but honestly, I think Asian noodles and filled pasta are very special. In Vancouver, most days Lin’s owner makes her own delicately steamed soup dumplings with a pork filling, in a hot savory broth. She rolls the dough thin, then quickly adds the filling, closes the encasement and minutes later the XLB are on the table — light, juicy, and piping hot. With such a large ex-patriot Hong Kong community in Vancouver, there’s really good Chinese food in the City. Lin’s, 1537 W. Broadway, 604-733-9696.

59. Liège Waffles
Like those in Liège, Belgium, these traditional waffles ask for nothing more than strong coffee (and then more waffles!). Just stay with classics like orange peel, pecan, chocolate, and, best of all, plain versions and don’t cover them in fruity syrups. Their crispy-sweet complexity comes from imported beet sugar and talented chefs. Pâtisserie Lebeau, 728 W. Second Ave.,604-731-3528

60. Stock Market’s Hot Porridge
Visit this public market and fortify yourself against the autumn chill and winter damp that invariably is part of the season in Vancouver and during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Try the weekly rotations of novel grain mixes (e.g. brown rice/millet; seven-grain; oatmeal) along with seasonal fruit compotes featuring apple base with nuts — and pairings like banana/orange, strawberry/rhubarb and mango/raisin. Granville Island’s Stock Market, 147–1689 Johnston St., 604-687-2433.

Enjoy!

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