2018 Autumn BC Beer List

It’s been almost a year since my last beer list and the landscape of my local liquor store has once again reconfigured Matrix-style to suit the tastes ‘n times.  I’m happy to report that the BC craft beer industry in general has mostly marched past the pumpkin spice frenzy of Octobers past (only counted two!) and has focused on more quality-crafted brews with, say a new strain of hops standing in for what used to be a lot of guava and Vanilla-Rooibis nonsense. (more…)

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Beef Stew!

[This is a very special guest recipe that my good buddy, fellow cook and hilarious Podcaster Jess shared way back in October of 2016 for our now-defunct Brotherhood of Bacon website. Though that concept now lies in the ditch of the information superhighway it produced this great recipe, one that I followed last night with phenomenal results! It’s the perfect one-pot-wonder to cook on a chilly Autumn night.]

Hey there, I’ve recently moved! Therefore I get the fantastic task of building a new kitchen from the ground up! (I discovered I didn’t have much in the way of essentials) So here’s a guide to one of the first recipes I cranked out in my new tiny kitchen wonderland! I’m a big fan of soups, stews, curries, or anything that sits on the stove top for a while, they warm the house up, and makes it seem like you’ve done more work than you actually have.

OH! It also makes your house smell great too! Now, one day, I’ll figure out how to put pictures up with these word, but until then I want you all to imagine the food in your mind. It will be fun! I promise. (more…)

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Il Falcone (Courteany, BC)

Via: https://www.ilfalcone.ca/

I recently sat down with farmer, philosopher and garlic guru Brent Garstin at his bucolic Comox Valley farm for a secret project that hopefully I’ll be able to share in a bit. Brent dropped all kinds of knowledge on me, including where to get some of his award-winning garlic to eat.

Crystal was then gracious enough to pick me up from the middle of nowhere so I treated us to dinner at the restaurant Brent suggested. Neither of us had ever eaten there, but I had high hopes after Brent said, “they do things there the right way, authentic… People that I trust say it’s the best in town.”

Those people were right.

Located at the end of the main drag in Courtenay and easily spotted thanks to its copious grape vines and nearly-neon orange paint job is Il Falcone. We arrived around six and scored a couple of seats in their small dining room just before the dinner rush hit. On the way by I peeked in the open kitchen and saw a guy laying out sheet after sheet of fresh pasta and knew we’d made the right choice.

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The Cascadian Smash Cocktail

It didn’t take long for summer to pack it up. It went from T-Shirts to raincoats practically overnight, the temperature dipped into the long pants zone and no-one is still wearing flip flops in all this muck. *sigh*It’s time for me to stay inside and organize all the late summer fruit ‘n veg harvested from our garden and out in the wild.

The latest bit of foraging I did yielded three large mason jars full of Oregon Grape Syrup, which retains much of the wild berry’s natural sourness tempered with just a hint of cane sugar. It’s very similar in taste to a Blackberry-Balsamic Shrub which is a type of fruit and vinegar syrup or cordial used to give cocktails a sexy sweet ‘n sour kick. (more…)

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Oregon Grape

Nothing makes an amateur forager feel more like a rock star than passing some scrumpy-looking bush in the neighbour’s yard and telling your friends, “See that there… You can eat that.” And you probably have a friend or two who’s down to try anything and immediately pops whatever berry you just pointed out into their mouth.

“Bleeeeaagggh! Why would anyone want to eat this!?” comes the response, followed by the look of betrayal. “This tastes nothing like a ripe blackberry. It’s sour! Why did I listen to you? You’re not a rock star! What if this is poison?” It is a scene we foragers know all too well… I’ve had it happen a couple of times to me and still recall the sting of recrimination and weird looks. *laughs*and it always seems to be thanks to Oregon grape.

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