Veneto (Victoria, BC)

Veneto 1It’s 6 ‘o clock on a smoldering afternoon in Victoria and my wife and I are hiking down the main drag, one blistering cobblestone at a time. We’re desperate to get back to our hotel room out of this ocean of people and car exhaust. Sure, we could hang out downtown but our dinner reservation isn’t for another couple hours and I’ll be damned if I’m going to sweat in this hipster inferno any longer, especially with all these MEC bags full of biking gear and cookbooks weighing me down.

I’m ready to start shoving tourists and crusty punks out of my way when I see the Rialto Hotel off in the distance; its grand double doors wide open, inviting me to drop everything and sit at the long marble bar where an angel with wings of cascading vintage glassware is pouring two fingers of Victoria Gin into an icy shaker with a wry grin.

I grab my wife’s hands and drag her inside, bags discarded along the way. We collapse into the tall chairs lining the bar and breathe in the stillness, seemingly miles away from the heat and crowd. The marble is cool to the touch and I can smell mint and lavender bitters on the air… We’ve arrived at Veneto, Victoria’s premier craft cocktail oasis… Thank the Gods! (more…)

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Hunt Gather Talk Podcast

Hunt Gather Talk LogoIt’s been a while since my last Podcast Roundup and I’m itching to share all the new food and culture content that I’ve discovered floating out there for free in the interwebs. I haven’t shuffled my lineup in a while and I’ve only added one new Foodcast as of late… But it’s a game changer and certainly big enough news to warrant its own post!

Hank Shaw has his own Podcast! The beard and brains behind the exceptional food blog-turned cookbook empire Hunter Angler Gardener Cook has started recording his free-form discussions (sometimes with guests) about everything his blog is famous for: Hunting, fishing, foraging and cooking all manner of wild foods. (more…)

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Cherry Blossoms!

Cherry Blossom 1

Cherry blossom petals
The wind carries them away
Taking me with them

Sean Condon, Vancouver, British Columbia (2014 Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, Honourable Mention)

One of the more profound moments of my short time living in Vancouver occurred by accident on a frigid spring morning at the Burrard skytrain station. It was crazy early and I had my headphones on to blot out the world as much as possible. I exited the train amidst the rest of the rabble and had begun the long climb up the central staircase to the street when a teenage Japanese girl beside me squealed.

It wasn’t a terror squeal, or a “look, its Johnny Depp!” noise, but it was enough to make me look up just in time to see a massive cloud of cherry blossoms descend down the staircase towards us. All the sakura trees up top had dropped their collective payloads simultaneously to form a dense, beautiful and unnervingly slow-moving tsunami of pink petals.

Whoooosh! The station filled with flowers and everyone gasped. Children whooped and spun. Couples drew closer. Even the proto-hipster guy (who hadn’t looked up from his book, even while disembarking the train) acknowledged the moment with a “huh”. The spell lasted about four magical, luxurious minutes before reality resumed… And I’d realized that by tallying amongst the cherry blossoms I missed my bus and was going to be late for work. (more…)

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Nettle Pesto

Nettle Pesto

Mother Nature has finally pulled herself together and ended the treachley tyranny of wind and rain that we West coasters call winter. Now that the sun’s out the world becomes a psychedelic dreamscape of bright pink cherry blossoms, purple crocuses, and deep green salmonberry shoots. I roll back the rock and stumble blindly, yet eagerly out of my cave and into the backyard with a pair of gloves and a plastic bag to collect the first edible greenery of the year: The mighty Stinging Nettle! (more…)

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