Plums, Pavarotti and Pork Shoulders : Notes From The 2017 Feast of Fields

Recently I discussed at great length how the best part about working in the culinary industry is the people I get to work with. These people are the best people and this past August on a sun-soaked hill in Sannichton I got to be with my people doing what we all enjoy most; serving food to appreciative people surrounded by the astounding beauty of BC at the 2017 Vancouver Island Feast of Fields food festival.

Over forty different food service vendors ranging from restaurants to cola companies all with a “farm to fork” ethos filled ten circus-sized tents and a barn full of more good stuff at Ravenhill Herb Farm. The event raised a ton of money for FarmFolk CityFolk  (a local non-profit that raises awareness of and provides help to local food producers) and gave us cooks a chance to get out of the kitchen and into the late August, fried-eggs-on-tarmac heat for a few hours. (more…)

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Gladstone Brewing (Courtenay, BC)

Gladstone Brewing is one of the Comox Valley’s most beloved institutions. It’s the flagship brewery of the North Vancouver Island craft brewing scene and it’s an absolute blotch upon EDB’s already sketchy reputation that we’ve only just got around to discussing them. For shame!

I’m definitely familiar with the brewery’s work. In fact I’ve drank quite a bit more of Gladstone’s beer at various local restaurants than I have almost any other local brewery. I’ll also admit to frittering away more than a few afternoons at the brewery proper, debating proper pizza dough thickness with Chef Matt while quaffing some seriously tasty craft beer. (more…)

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Norwoods Restaurant (Ucluelet, BC)

A decade ago, going to the Pacific Rim for a Summer trip was a relatively simple affair. The most daunting part was navigating the winding, single-lane roller coaster of a road across the island. Once you and your family had arrived it was a simple matter of finding some parking at Big Beach and figuring out which gas station in Tofino had the best ice cream.

Now vacationing along the Pacific Rim is a vastly more complicated affair: The road is still shit, but instead of fearing the local yahoo’s pickup truck swerving into you it’s the endless parade of tourists ineptly driving monolithic motor homes or luxury sedans that keep your knuckles white. The vast expanse of beaches are choked with people and downtown Tofino is like the sweltering crush of Robson Street in Van compressed into four square blocks… Good luck finding any ice cream amongst the Patagonia vendors and gourmet Ramen joints. (more…)

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Forbidden Brewing Co. (Courtenay, BC)

The Vancouver Island brewing scene is evolving at such a breakneck pace that every month or so I have to take a breath, go online or crack open a copy of The Growler and catch up on all the new trends, breweries, beer styles and lingo that I’m already ignorant of. Case in point: The term “Nano brewery” is the handle for a new crop of breweries that (according to this killer Paste article) “makes very, very little beer (say, between one and three barrels, or roughly ninety gallons at a time and boasts an ultra-limited distribution footprint.

This fits Courtney’s Forbidden Brewing perfectly. It’s ity-bity! There’s just enough room inside their tasting room for six tables plus a pool table (watch your back!) and a bitchin tabletop Space Invaders game machine. Despite these physical limitations the Forbidden crew make the absolute most of everything their situation can accommodate.

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Beachfire Brewing and Nosh House

beachfire-1It’s been little over a year since all the rumours about a CR brewery were confirmed and the buzz amongst local food ‘n beer nerds began. The survey followed quickly after and the anticipation grew, then came the zoning meetings and it grew a bit more. By late spring we were a frenzied mob! Our Lucky-lovin burg was getting into the craft brew scene, just like the big boys… Then it was quiet all summer long.

Boom, clang! Like a ninja the Beachfire Brewery and Nosh House appeared and opened for business seemingly overnight without me or many of my fellow industry folks noticing. Its beer time kids! I hopped on my bike after an early admin day and beelined to a block of downtown I haven’t visited in years.

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