Moon Under Water Brewpub (Victoria, BC)

My wife and I hadn’t visited Victoria in about a year ‘n a half so when we decided to ramble down the Island last weekend there were three things we weren’t prepared for: One – Hotels cost more than University tuition. Two – Half of Vic is being knocked down and remodeled so the roads and sidewalks (or lack thereof) are an apocalyptic mess of crumbled concrete and rebar spaghetti. Three – Electronic bikes that you rent with your phone are freakin everywhere!

To avoid the first problem we stayed outside the city center and spent as little time downtown as possible to avoid problem number two. The Ebikes were what saved us! We found a couple discarded bikes at the foot of the galloping goose trail (seriously people just leave them any old place) we fired up the U-Bike app and unlocked ‘em. Two hours and two dollars apiece later we had biked ½ the trail, looped back, met a bunch of new friends, pissed off some spandex-biker types and rolled up on the Moon Under Water Brewpub to enjoy some craft beers. (more…)

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Spot Prawn Tempura

After getting completely trounced in the first round of last week’s Shellfish Festival competition, I’ve been thinking a lot about simplicity. One of my many mistakes during those surreal 45 minutes was going in too many directions at once instead of focusing on a single, well crafted dish. So yeah, fourteen years experience and I still have to go back and work on fundamentals! *laughs*

I’ve still got bags of Calvin’s freshly-caught Spot Prawns in my freezer and the whole family is home today for one reason or another. I think it’s time I channel my fryer days at Wasabiya and bang out some simple, perfect prawn tempura. (more…)

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Goodbye Uncle Tony

If you’re a professional chef or cook, read food blogs or watch TV you already know the bad news. Chef and TV personality Anthony Bourdain passed away yesterday morning in a French hotel room while filming his show Parts Unknown. He was 61 year old and left behind a daughter plus a legion of fans and admirers who run the gamut from industry kin to casual TV watchers.

The response has been immediate and overwhelming. Not since Bowie has the social media collective spoken so warmly about the loss of a prominent media figure and I think it’s probably due to the fact that beyond his celebrity status, Tony Bourdain was a really great person. (more…)

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Spot Prawns!

It was early on a Friday afternoon and despite the breezy grey weather I was soaked to my screaming bones with sweat and cursing Crystal’s Uncle Calvin (who got me into my current situation) under my breath. Brycen (Cal’s son) and I were hauling a very sketchy aluminum rickshaw overflowing with heavy metal crab traps up an impossibly steep gangway. It took both of us to get the beast up and over to Calvin and his new friends; a gang of grizzled old fisherman who did nothing to help us, but sure seem to have opinions on how we’re doing it wrong.

I was trying my very best to look tough in front of this motley collection of bums and pirates, despite my suspicion that there was a better way to go about this whole affair. Of course I was the only one on this particular commercial fishing dock that had no sea legs. Calvin and Brycen both grew up on fishing boats as (I suspect) Cal’s father and maybe even father’s father did. They knew all the moves, the lingo and the unspoken rules of the dock. Me, I was just an extra pair of hands. (more…)

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Salted Radish and Mint Salad

This is the year I got my gardening act together!

Soil is tilled! Weeds are gone! Fertilizer? In! Seeds? You bet! And I’m watering every single day! Boom! And it’s already paying off! First crop is up. My sink is full of radishes!

I’m thinking the best way to use my very own home-grown, seed-to-sandwich produce is to keep it real simple. I’ll make a nice little salad with a bit of salt and the mint that’s also popping up in the herb pots finished with a squeeze of lime. (more…)

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