Vancouver Olympics – New Foods 8

The 2010 Winter Olympic Games Opening Ceremony happens tonight in Vancouver, BC! The world’s focus will be on the City hosting the Olympiad, and people from all over the globe are there — hoping to find new experiences and also find what is familiar to them.

Food factors into both sides of this equation. It is easier to find information about the Cultural Olympiad, which is happening congruently, with the sports Olympiad, but harder to understand the local food scene. As all of us have to eat, I decided to work on these issues in my series, as this information can also be used way beyond the Games.

The list is based on an article which appeared in a Vancouver Magazine edition in 2008. I have expanded it, but realize that with this fast-changing economy, no-one can be sure which businesses are viable on a given day, anymore. Continuing:

61. Butter Baked Goods’ Marshmallows
These retro, lighter-than-air coconut-dusted confections make the ultimate gourmet s’mores — a sandwich made from 2 graham crackers, 1 chocolate square and 1 marshmallow — with the marshmallow warmed gently in a campfire (or over a burner) and then placed into the sandwich. MMM! Butter Baked Goods, 4321 Dunbar St., 604-221-4333

62. Beer-Injected Fried Oyster
Personally, this does not appeal to me, but it was special enough to be on the original list. In this preparation, the battered bivalve comes with a dropper filled with Granville Island Lager, which you squirt in your mouth as you bite into the oyster. Yes, it’s gimmicky, but it’s tasty, just like lime or salt on your hand when drinking tequila is — it’s a flavor marriage. Nu, 1661 Granville St., 604-646-4668

63. Savary Island’s Soda Bread
Soda Bread seems mundane, but even peasant fare, well-made, can be sublime, and in winter when it’s too early for the strawberry-rhubarb pie, then you can enjoy a window seat while munchng super-moist slices of soda bread. Do resist the dark berry jams, as this bread calls for just great butter. You can enjoy their savory vegetarian poutine, which was also on the List. Savary Island Pie Company, 1533 Marine Dr., West Vancouver, 604-926-4021

64. Stellaport
Solera-style barreling means each season’s Naramata-grown Stella cherries get added into the original oak “mother barrel” which was started in 2001. Whatever the viticulture, this is the richest port-style treat west of Oporto, Portugal. The cherries used by Elephant Island Winery in Naramata have been grown on their own farm, and the wine makes a perfect-for-any-holiday port. Elephant Island also does use this same Solera system for apricot, cassis, crabapple, pear, framboise and apple dessert wines. Dessert wines are about $20 Canadian at the winery in Naramata; Stellaport is about $30 Canadian, but they are also available at numerous shops throughout B.C.Look for this local treat in gourmet shops (like Edible BC at Granville Market) and find their distributors at Elephant Island Wines – Stellaport.

65. Smoked Bison Carpaccio
Bison is always grass-fed, and is not tampered with by humans the way that other meats and fowl are. They are robust, lean animals, and have healthy fats. At Boneta, Chef Jeremie Bastien’s rich smoked bison carpaccio is perfectly balanced by roasted tomatoes and a slightly-acidic sherry vinaigrette, but at a restaurant which sports an ever-changing menu, this is so esteemed that customers have threatened to riot if it’s ever removed! Boneta 1 W. Cordova St., 604-684-1844

66. Dodonis Feta Cheese
In Greece, feta — the national brined curd cheese — is made from at least 70% sheep’s milk (the other 30% is goat’s milk). These milks taste nothing like cow milk, so those cheesemakers who frequently try to make feta using cow milk will get a raucous, unacceptable substitute.

Because Dodonis uses what is traditional, it strikes the perfect balance between firm but flaky texture, and has just the right degree of saltiness. Real feta has a pure flavor that’s at once delicately mild yet deeply complex. It’s also healthier than our over-used cow milk repetoire. Parthenon Supermarket, 3080 W. Broadway, 604-733-4191

67. Stamina Roll
Watching local sushi master Yoshi Tabo prepare his picture-perfect creations at Blue Water Café’s raw bar is almost as much fun as eating his food. Riesling wine lifts his inspired Stamina roll (barbecued eel, fresh crab and smoked salmon) from exquisite to sublime. If you have never tried eel, it’s fatty and is a high-cholesterol food, so a little goes a long way; therefore, trying it in sushi is perfect. I like sea eel better than the freshwater variety, but undoubtedly others would differ. Blue Water Café, 1095 Hamilton St., 604-688-8078

68. Osake Premium Sake
Try Osake Premium from Artisan Sake, which is made in the heart of Vancouver, on Granville Island by Masa Shiroki, master. He makes six different sakes. Ask to buy the lees (kasu) for marinating sablefish or salmon or other pickling recipes. Bishop’s makes a great dressing for its Celebration Salad (on the menu) using kasu, lime and poppy seed. Artisan Sake, 1339 Railspur Alley, Granville Island, 604-685-7253

69. Burrata
This soft, fresh Italian mozzarella has an ethereal, creamy center. It’s rarely available, and has a brief shelf life. Ask to be notified when it does make an appearance. This shop stocks many fine local foods and has been mentioned as a source for at least 3 other items on this list; it’s worth a trip. Use the sliced Burrata along with slices of fresh basil, the best tomatoes and best extra-virgin olive oil to make a Salad Caprese. Les Amis du Fromage, 1752 W. Second Ave., 604-732-4218

70. Moroccan Chicken Wings
This ancient cuisine is becoming better-known in North America thanks to innovative chefs, rather than finding ethnic restaurants themselves. When you do find a real Moroccan restaurant, be sure to experience it (Portland and San Francisco have them.) Meanwhile, in Vancouver, experience these gems which are sticky and sweet, with a lick of heat on free-run chicken wings. They are coated in an orange-chili-pomegranate glaze, and are the best wings in the City. Habit, 2610 Main St., 604-877-8582


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