The Urban Modernist Cocktail

UM CocktailI’ve been listening to an online radio show from Hamilton, Ontario called Urban Modernists for the last seven years. Hosted by Greg (aka Afternoons In Stereo, who I’ve plugged many times alongside many meals) each episode is a journey into the deeply obscure and funky world of nu-jazz, funk, breaks, latin and afrobeat that has had a serious impact on both my ever-evolving musical tastes and I dare say my life in general. I’ve found a majority of my favourite artists (Shawn Lee, Jimi Tenor, Pitch ‘n Scratch, The Bamboos, The Haggis Horns, Quantic and his Combo Barbaro and soooooo many more) listening to this proto-podcast and obsessing over setlists intoned by the velvety-voiced host/DJ.

But, I’m sad to report that Greg’s days of putting needles to wax and expanding the minds of us morlocks over the airwaves and interwebs has come to an end. A couple weeks back he dropped the final episode after a decade-long run and I’ll admit to getting a little emotional. (more…)

The White Whale (Courtenay, BC)

via The White Whale on facebook

via The White Whale on facebook

Only a quick forty five minute drive away from our house, the local foods epicenter of the Comox Valley might as well be across the ocean for my wife and me when planning a dinner trip. After we factor in the time and money it takes to get a hotel (dinner does mean drinking after all!) and the commute after a hard work day it just never seems worth it… So, we just go and eat at Beijing House.

And yet, there is always an exception; A day apart , and afternoon perfectly sequenced into our overly-scheduled lives, a dinner-window where we can just kick back and enjoy whatever we damn well please.

So on a rare Saturday off in October there we were: Already in Courtenay, hungry as all get out (early breakfast and no lunch) and in that strange not-quite-dinner time before 7:00pm; plenty of time to have a meal and a couple ‘o drinks before heading home. Finally, the opportunity I’d been waiting for to hit up Chef Aaron Rail’s critically acclaimed new restaurant The White Whale. (more…)

Sun-Dried Tomato and Olive Tapenade

Tapenade 1Shortly after returning home from our adventure in South-Eastern Ontario I received a request from the new couple (still kickin it in Newfoundland) for the tapenade recipe that appeared at their wedding dinner.

Now, back in Gan I kind of winged it, but do not fear newlyweds! I have a recipe! Like a Platonic Form all of my tapenades spring from a single perfected recipe that I may or may not have stolen from a Jamie Oliver book many years ago. (more…)

A Feast of Swine and Family: Notes From a Wedding In Gananoque, Ontario

Wedding 1I’ve been posting pictures and vague references to my trip out East for a week or two now and I suppose I should share some of our food-related experiences while they’re still (relatively) fresh in my mind. It’s not really West coast in any way, but hey; good food is good food and connecting with family is one of the reasons this blog exists in the first place.

It had been nearly half a decade since I’d seen my ancestral home when my mom put out the call: My brother Andrew was getting married to his long-time better half Julie and the clan was converging from all points to throw a proper wedding in their honour… And there was a pig that needed to be cooked. (more…)

Soy-Pickled Daikon Radish

Soy Pickled Daikon 1I’m back from my trip to the not-so-frozen East coast and have one more afternoon of relaxation before work begins anew. To cleanse my overstimulated mind of the past week’s wildness I’ve decided to spend the day puttering around the kitchen performing my favourite Zen tasks: Simmering stock, baking bread and making pickles.

The oldschool Japanese art of making pickles (tsukemono) was first taught to me by chef Hiro, who would make one or two batches of variously-preserved vegetables each week for the restaurant. They were usually simple to prepare and quick to get into the game (never taking more than 2-3 days to fully pickle) and always showcased the natural flavour of the vegetable. All that was needed to make ‘em was a container, salt, and something to apply pressure on top. (more…)

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