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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New Horizon Cocktail

New Horizon CocktailWell kids, we made it!

Judging from all the puffy eyes, shambling and moans I assume everyone had a great time on New Years and probably toasted the end of 2016 with a variety of libations that they’re now regretting. That’s great! We needed a party to forget last year’s unrelenting weirdness and tragedy.

We lost a lot of great people who filled our lives with music and fantasy and all the things that keep us young. I lost my grandfather, my dog, my house was ravaged twice by floods and my shed collapsed with both bikes inside. It was a hellish year!

But enough doom! Like many others, we mixed up a couple of custom cocktails on New Year’s Eve and celebrated with a loud sigh of relief. Now that we’ve survived I’ve been tinkering with the recipe and figure I’d share it, even though most of us are still nursing a week-long hangover. *laughs* (more…)

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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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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…)

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