Lemon/Ginger Chickpea Curry  

Indian Lemon/Ginger Chickpea Curry.

After going to the Planted Expo event here in Vancouver over the weekend I thought it would be a good idea to post my favourite vegetarian recipe.

This is a hand me down family recipe from a woman in India given to a friend of a friend and finally handed down to me.  You won’t find this in any Indian Restaurant because it takes too long to cook.  I like to keep things fairly simple these days but the extra effort is well worth the end result.

It takes some time to prepare it all, but once everything is in the pot you’ll find it most flavourful.  Not only is it super delicious but it’s healthy too.  A win-win for those who love Indian curry.

Follow these steps:

Soak 3 cups of organic dried chickpeas in water overnight (some of the water will absorb – the rest you use in the recipe).

Preparing the sliced ginger and carrots (thin + lengthwise)

Two carrots, one mesh packet of ginger, 4 Tbsp of toasted sesame oil, for spices use 1 ½ teaspoons each of dried turmeric + ground cumin.

Sprinkling of cinnamon.

Squeeze 4 organic lemons (including pulp)

You can add fresh green chillies if you wish (fry them with the ginger).

Get the oil hot then fry the spices in the oil first for a few minutes then fry the sliced ginger strips until they get a bit crispy – about 5 minutes.  Then add half of the sliced carrots.  Cook a few minutes more, then add the chickpeas with soak water.

ginger strips in oil

Cook over a boiling consistency for at least half an hour.  The water has to reduce.  When the water boils down you add the rest of the carrots until they’re cooked.  You have to watch the dish so that the water doesn’t boil down too much so that you’re left with a nice tangy gravy.

When the chickpea curry is thickened but not boiled down all the way you can add the lemon juice.  You put it in last because the lemon juice should not over cook.  It’s to add flavour.

The end result should have a gravy like consistency. 

Serve in bowls and add a sprinkling of pink Himalayan salt.  Leftovers (if there’s any left) are always yummy.

Cooking Photos: d. king

Add garnish if you like.  Serve with rice if you want but it’s a satisfying dish on its own.



Planted Expo – Plant Based Eating

You can also call it mindful eating. Plant based eating has become very popular and even though I’m not really vegan, I prefer to incorporate more veggies and an overall healthful eating regime into my daily life.  I have several completely vegan friends though.  And let me say that it is more challenging to accommodate them.  For instance I love cheese and I’ve had a hard time (until now) finding a cheese that isn’t really cheese as we know it, but tastes like it.  Do you know what I’m talking about?

Made on Planet Earth – out of this world!

But as of only yesterday I’ve discovered a world of wonderful substitutes that are as tasty as they are non-dairy.  It was a bit overwhelming to say the least with all the various vendors and not knowing which way to turn or what to eat first.  That’s not to say that I’m going to give up on buying my regular weekly grab bag of French/Swiss/German/Canadian/Worldly cheese from Les Amis de Fromage anytime soon.  It’s just that I’m willing to adapt and experiment with plant based types of foods which keep getting better and better as they merge into the mainstream food chain.

The foods we eat have a significant impact on the health of the planet. 

Peak Bakery is like having a French Baker in your freezer. Your can order at peakbakery.ca

I just attended the second annual Planted Expo here in Vancouver which took place over the past weekend at the Convention Centre West downtown – the place for large events.  This event was much larger than I expected.  Infact, it’s the largest event of its kind in Canada. 

And I tried to take a bath.  delush is a magic stick to take away your aches and pains. https://www.delush.co/shop/skin-body/the-magic-stick/

The need to talk about the benefits of eating a plant-first diet is at its peak. British Columbia is the province with the highest share of vegetarians and vegans and we know meat and dairy alone account for 14.5 percent of global annual greenhouse gas production—so it’s no surprise that for a while now, Canadians have shown interest in cutting back on meat. Committing to eating less meat however is easier said than done. It’s time-consuming to figure out how to best create a well-balanced, nutritious meal.

A few examples below taken from vendors at the show and from the blog of plantedlife.com

Ready made meals for everyone (not only Vegans):

Marie Grapé is co-founder of Manna Sacred Meals. As a Filipino-Canadian woman, she grew up being used to a heavy animal-based diet. When she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, she decided to take a step back to consider how her food habits were affecting her health. “I felt compelled to defy traditional medicine and normalize my disorder so that everyone moving to a plant-based diet for health reasons can do so easily while enjoying the same breadth of variety in flavours and textures as everyone else.”

“The first challenge is that the change seems really daunting when the majority of us have been conditioned to have meat with each meal. A second challenge is a process by which people shift. Often people shift overnight and end up blaming the lack of nutrients on the plant-based lifestyle. This is why we launched Manna, we take the burden away and allow people to fall in love with the benefits and flavour of great plant-first meals!”

Sustainable Snacking:

The team at Kove (Silver Sponsor at Planted Expo) is developing the tastiest, most delicious foods made with Cascadia Seaweed, seaweed grown in the pristine waters of the Pacific Ocean in partnership with First Nations. By simply cultivating seaweed in the ocean, Cascadia and Kove are working to solve some of the biggest challenges humanity is facing today; climate change, economic instability and food security. Kove’s first product powered by Cascadia Seaweed is its furikake style signature seaweed seasoning SEA SPICE which is available in retail stores and online. We put the sea in seasoning, so you can put it on EVERYTHING you love to eat. Salty, crunchy, garlicky, sea-weedy, and absolutely yummy. Good for the Planet, Good for the Community, Good for You. The sustainable way to snack.

Guilt Free (and “Free”) Chocolate:

I bought the last bag of Drop Naked Salted Nut Caramel Chocolates.  

Not only delicious but hand made with limited ingredients like dates, cocoa butter, Madagascar vanilla, hazelnuts and raw cane sugar.  Made by Matan Volach.  matan@dropnaked.com

At the time I didn’t realize that I’d be eating a satisfying lunch with dessert there.  My friend Lynda accompanied me and she ate just as much.

Photo: Lynda Carroll
Met this little charmer named Boglin (I’m talking about the dog who spent 4 years in a crate in China before being rescued by this very nice girl). His name comes from a movie called “The Boglins” – a powerful character.

Photos: d. king


Wineing: Master Class

Isn’t it nice when a new month begins on Monday?  Like another new beginning and a fresh start to the week and month ahead.

Speaking of fresh starts, I’m happy to be back in Vancouver again. This is the time when the weather starts to warm up.  Well maybe not right now; but soon. Also, the timing is perfect because the Vancouver International Wine Festival (VIWF) is always around the time I return back from Palm Springs I’m sure they plan it that way and it’s all very interesting, educational and cheerful to say the least. 
Such a nice location too – Canada Place at the Port of Vancouver; Convention Centre

Aside from the International wine tasting itself and an exceptional wine pairing dinner to celebrate wines from Uruguay (the festival focus this year was on South American wines), this is the first time during VIWF that I attended two master classes to do with wine making.  The first was called “Defining the Root of BC Terroir” and the second was “California Wines: An Era in the Making.”  Very fitting since I spend my time divided between BC and California and enjoy wines from both places when in each location.

These classes were very educational because no matter how much you enjoy drinking the wines from the Province of British Columbia and the State of California, both areas are very different in the way they make wine because of factors like weather, location and what kinds of grapes are best to grow in each unique location.  Congratulations to anyone becoming an actual sommelier. There’s just so much information to take in on every level if you’re so inclined.

The wineries in discussion are focusing on exceptional quality over quantity rather than mass produced wines. 

Defining the Root of BC Terroir – a bit about the class

Being grounded is where it all begins. This masterclass featured 11 British Columbia wines from across the province.  The professional panelists took a deep dive into the unique growing conditions of each wine growing region’s distinct terroir.  The discussion touched on what BC winegrowers are doing in the face of climate change to continue making exciting quality wines with a sense of place; from terroir that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.  The class was sponsored by Wines of BC. Our panelists were the individual wine makers and our moderators were Maude Renaud-Brisson (Apéro Mode) and Christina Hartigan (Wine Director at AnnaLena. AnnaLena Court of Master Sommeliers.)

Featured wines for tasting and analysis were:

Unsworth Vineyards (Cowichan Valley; Vancouver Island): Charme de L’ile Rosé NV

Bench (Naramata, Okanagan) 1775 Viognier 2021

Nk’Mip Cellars (Osoyoos) Pinot Blanc 2021

Ex Nihilo Vineyards (Okanagan Valley) Pinot Noir 2020

Chronos (Okanagan Valley) Cabernet Franc 2020

Osoyoos Larose (Osoyoos) Grand Vin 2012

Lake Breeze (Naramata) Reisling 2018

Moraine Estate Winery (Penticton) Syrah 2020

Laughing Stock Vineyards (Naramata) Syrah 2020

Corcelettes Estate Winery (Keremeos) Syrah 2020

Cedar Creek Estate Winery (Kelowna) Platinum Jagged Rock Syrah 2020

As you can see, we sampled three different syrahs from the exact same year but in different locations to taste the distinction between the three.  In another post I’ll talk more about this.

California Wines: An Era in the Making

California’s unique geology, soil and climate combine to create multi faceted and expressive wines. Leading educator Elaine Chukan Brown unearthed  secrets behind the region’s complex and distinctive wines.  Sharing how California’s wine industry is committed to creating a sustainable future.  She spoke about the science behind the soil, climate and geology.  Some vines have a harder time searching for water; unlike BC.  Fascinating!  We tasted what makes California wines unique.  As much as I favour Cali Chardonnay, there were none for the tasting.  It is well known that California produces award winning chards but they preferred to focus on the lesser known Cali Sauvignon Blancs for our tasting.  Which was a good thing because I’m familiar mostly with Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand and these were right up there. In the couple hours we were there I scribbled down so much information that I’ll have to share some of it in another post down the road. Sponsored by California Wines.  Featured wines:

RAEN Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast 2019

*WALT Pinot Noir, Gap’s Crown 2018

Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Blancs NV

Spottswoode (Napa) Sauvignon Blanc 2021

**Ridge Vineyards Geyserville Zinfindel 2019

Dry Creek Vineyard (Sonoma) Dry Creek Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2020

Black Stallion Estate Winery Limited Release Zinfindel, Napa 2019

Pahlmeyer Jayson (Napa) by Pahlmeyer Merlot 2017

Chappellet (Napa Valley) Signature Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

***Robert Mondavi Winery to Kalon Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

*Gap’s Crown Vineyard is located in the heart of the Petaluma Wind Gap area of the Sonoma Coast Appellation. Gentle slopes, heavy fog, and rocky soils produce these exquisite wines of great depth and richness.

**Geyserville is home to the oldest vines farmed in California. The Old Patch” section of the vineyard contains vines that are more than 130 years of age.

***Between Highway 29 and the western hills of Oakville, in the heart of Napa Valley, there is a vineyard called To-Kalon, “the place of highest beauty.” Two roadside signs signal arrival, but like all mythic places its exact shape is hard to define.  FYI – Mondavi is leading the way with farming electric – already they have six Monarch Tractors.

In closing; I have to say that tasting the wine and loving wine in general is only part of the whole experience.  As you can see from the notes above, no two wines are alike.  I’m very fortunate to have been all over beautiful British Columbia stopping at wineries along the way in and around the Okanagan Valley, Lake Country, Osoyoos, Vancouver Island and Fraser Valley.  Same for California:  Napa, Sonoma & Sonoma County, Lodi, Paso Robles, Temecula and Santa Barbara.  It’s all very breathtaking.  And yes; I’ve sampled plenty.

I highly recommend taking master classes during any wine festival if they’re offering them.  It was extremely educational and you get to sample a handful of outstanding wines.


One of the best wine festivals in the world is right here in Vancouver.


Last night we had a Balasto!

At the Vancouver International Wine Festival 2023 – a world of wine awaits us,  with a focus on South America.

It started with a launch at Joey’s and it’s not over yet.  A few master classes, the festival tasting itself and about last night…

Up the winding staircase a surprise awaits us
Enologist Mele (l) and Sommelier Jen (r) at Hydra, Vancouver.

If you’re a food/wine lover nothing can beat a wine pairing dinner.

And if you’re the adventurous type,  you’ll travel to the ends of the earth to discover a unique wine in a unique location.  That’s what we did last night – me and my new friends sitting  around a round table at Hydra Estiatorio Mediterranean restaurant downtown Vancouver.  And what a magnificent restaurant (more on this later).

Mele & Craig (a wine writer/critic/judge)

Okay, in truth we didn’t travel very far to discover this new finding.  However, someone else did so that she could offer around 97 guests an exceptional 7 course dining extravaganza along with award winning wines from what was considered the Southern Hemisphere’s best kept secret – until now.  I don’t like to give secrets away but I can’t hold it in any longer: I’m telling you it was the Best of Uruguay: from Bodega Garzón.  Who knew?  I certainly did not realize how excellent these wines from Uruguay are and in general I was not even aware of what kind of wines they produced, if any.  Luckily I’m not alone.

Starter: Seared Diver Scallops with yellow pea puree, picked red onion + capers

Having been to Argentina twice I was familiar with Mendoza wine region and Malbec wine.  What a shame that I didn’t travel a little more distance to Uruguay to check this out for myself.  I certainly wouldn’t bypass it next time.  Not after last night!

Each pairing was thoughtfully curated by Hydra’s Executive Chef Brad Scharien (formerly of Italian Kitchen & Coast) to wow guests.  And that he did. It was amazing.

The Menu
Pistachio Cheesecake with blackberry compote, citrus cream.

Former wine maker and enologist Mele Sosa (born in Uruguay and raised in Uruguay and Chile) was our vivacious, charming, funny and knowledgeable host with the most.  She was great with a mic while darting in and around tables explaining about all the fabulous wines we had the privilege of sampling and answering questions.

One of the wines is called Balasto – a 2017 iconic red wine made from Tannat (the national red grape), Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot grapes.  This big, beautiful bold wine was paired with braised short rib stifado (which was a tasty dish of short rib with caramelized pearl onion, confit garlic potato puree + pickled mustard seed).  As you can guess, it was wonderful.  And the whole evening was like one big food and wine fest of its’ very own.

Nice Jugs

A little more about Mele: Mele’s role entails traveling through the United States and Canada, to champion Tannat (she even sang about it), Albariño and other wines produced by Bodega Garzón through media work, trade and distributor training, winemakers dinners and wine events.

After this evening I can say that my new favourite white is called Albariño and my new favourite reds are called Tannat and Balasto (also I love saying these new to me names).  Also I’m quite picky with rosé but I loved their Estate Pinot Noir Rosé de Corte 2021 which was very elegant and expressive – not too sweet, not overly dry – just perfecto!

Here’s a bonus – they’re all available at Legacy liquor store in Olympic Village, Vancouver (link below).

Below is taken from the brochure

About Bodega Garzón; Uruguay:

When Alejandro Bulgheroni and his wife Bettina discovered Garzón, they had a family dream come true: to have the most emblemetic winery of modern viticulture in Uruguay and premium wines with an intense personality and a deep sense of belonging to the land.  With the advice of international enologist Alberto Antonini, they apply their philosophy focused on producing wines that are a true expression of their origins.  Experts on viticulture, environmental care, gastronomy, hospitality and tourism complete a team committed to this unprecedented project.


Hydra: a dining experience without parallel.


Named after the beautiful culinary Greek Island in the Aegean Sea, World Class Chef-driven Hydra Estiatorio Mediterranean  & Bar is a Greek Seafood restaurant.  Hydra applies Greece’s time-honored ingredients with traditional cooking styles, focusing on quality Mediterranean dishes such as vine-ripened tomato salad with flat parsley and feta, alongside exquisitely-tender grilled octopus garnished with lemon juice and olive oil, or lamb chops served straight from the grill with hints of garlic and oregano.

Where to buy Bodega Garzón wines in Vancouver:


Vancouver International Wine Festival (all weekend long) tickets:

Joey’s VIWF Media Launch


Friday Fashion Show Luncheon

Our wonderful group of seven enjoyed a fabulous meal at Wally’s Desert Turtle in Rancho Mirage last Friday, while models wearing local designer wear from some of the shops on El Paseo walked around while we ate lunch and chatted.

L-R: Candy, Mini, Libby, Megan, Kathy, Tammy, Debbie.

There was also a little pop-up shop inside the restaurant where we could buy some of the fashions as well as local jewellery.  Which of course, we did.

What a wonderful concept!

Especially at the most highly awarded restaurant in the desert, designed by famed interior designers Steven Chase and Randy Patton.  With bevelled mirrored ceilings, Peruvian artefacts and hand-painted murals, the restaurant has a refined ambiance and a classically trained chef to enjoy all the special culinary creations.

Kathy ended up buying the dress that the model was wearing. It looked great on her.

In the evening there’s live music in the Sahara Lounge which has been enjoyed by countless celebrities from Frank Sinatra to Tom Hanks.

If you’re curious about the funny name it’s because Mr. Wally Botello was the Founder of the famed fine-dining Velvet Turtle chain. The restaurant is now owned and operated by Wally’s son Michael and granddaughter Maddy.

The third course was either a lemon meringue tart, carrot cake (sold out) or chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream (my choice shown here).








Mindful Eating

Intermittent Fasting is gaining popularity among those who want to lose weight and burn fat. Anyone here want to burn fat?It’s a much healthier option than going full on starvation mode, and a lot easier than you think.

I’ve never been one to fast, however, without even realizing it, I’ve been intermittent fasting (IF for short) for the past several weeks and feel so much better for doing so.  All I’m doing is not eating breakfast first thing in the morning and eating dinner earlier than usual.  Except for maybe a weekend night, I try to finish my last meal no later than 7:00 pm and have breakfast mid morning. Makes for a much better sleep too having those extra hours before bedtime with no snacking after dinner.

As I love eating, I don’t do well with diets, however I’ve tried several diets in the past. Many diets focus on what to eat, but intermittent fasting is all about when you eat. Technically you’re fasting for 16 hours every day, and restricting meals to an 8-hour eating window. This is the most popular form of intermittent fasting, known as the 16/8 method. 

Here’s a good beginner’s guide to Intermittent Fasting:

Intermittent Fasting – A Beginner’s Guide

 by Brad King February 16, 2023

There is so much interest surrounding the topic of intermittent fasting or IF these days, however there is also a great deal of confusion surrounding IF. I hope to clear up much of this confusion and in the process, give you more clarity on the subject and a quick starter guide for those who wish to try it out for yourself.

 IF 101

 IF is a dietary strategy in which a person avoids the intake of food for many hours each day. The actual time varies depending on a person’s goals, individual needs and health profile, however research indicates that most health benefits occur during a fasting period of at least 14 hours each day, and optimally 16 hours or more. As an example, this would equate to a person ending their last meal at 7PM each night and starting their first meal of the day at 11AM the next morning. So, in effect, you would be eating for a time period of 8 hours each day.

Many people begin IF for weight loss, as there is often a calorie deficit experienced with this type of program, but the real benefits in terms of weight loss actually come from IF’s ability to control excess blood sugar levels. Every time we eat—especially high carbohydrate foods—we experience elevated blood glucose, which places our bodies into a fat storage mode for many hours afterwards.

When we fast, our bodies shift from using glucose as its primary energy source to releasing and burning stored fat. Fasting allows insulin levels to drop, and when the body is in a fasted state long enough, the body enters a state of ketosis, where stored fat breaks down into fatty acids, which are then transported to the liver and converted into ketone bodies (beta-hydroxybutyrateacetoacetate, and acetone), which can then be used as a healthy form of energy for the body and brain.

Obviously weight loss (coming primarily from our fat stores) is a great reason for many to start IF, but IF has the ability to increase our overall health in many more ways than trimming our waistlines. For instance, research suggests that IF can also improve our cellular health, and the promotion of biological longevity.

IF seems to attain better health by activating a process known as autophagy. Autophagy is the body’s natural cleansing process in which old, worn or damaged cells are broken down and removed from the body. Autophagy is necessary for optimal health, and has been shown to exert numerous health enhancing effects, help us look and feel better and even reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Aside from enhancing ones health profile through autophagy, IF has also been shown to increase the production of one of our most powerful pituitary hormones called human growth hormone (HGH), which has documented anti-aging properties and is responsible for better skin, bone, muscle mass, enhanced sleep cycles and also fat loss.

Finally, IF has also been shown to help lower the incidence of metabolic disorders like type 2 diabetes and heart disease by improving overall insulin sensitivity, and lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.

Brad’s 5-step plan for getting started with intermittent fasting

Begin slowly: It’s critical to ease into intermittent fasting. Begin with shorter fasting periods and gradually lengthen them as your body adjusts. Start by eliminating snacking between meals and not eating anything after 7PM.

Choose the appropriate fasting method: There are several types of intermittent fasting (IF), including time-restricted feeding, in which you fast for a set number of hours each day, and alternate day fasting, in which you fast every other day. Select the method that best fits your lifestyle and schedule.

Stay hydrated: It is critical to drink plenty of water during a fast in order to stay hydrated and flush out toxins. Sugary and artificially sweetened drinks should be avoided because they can disrupt the fasting process and negate any benefits by raising glucose and insulin.

Eat healthy: IF should not be used as an excuse to consume unhealthy foods. Focus on eating whole, nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats during non-fasting periods and stay away from excess carbs—especially processed ones—as much as possible.

Consult a medical professional: Before embarking on any new dietary regimen, it is critical to consult with a doctor or a nutritionist to determine whether IF is safe and appropriate for you. Fasting may be contraindicated in people with certain medical conditions, such as type 1 diabetes.

To summarize, IF is a dietary approach with numerous health benefits, including weight loss, improved cellular health, and biological longevity. It is possible to reap the benefits and improve overall health and wellness by following a healthy and well-planned IF program.

Link to Full Article:


Disclaimer: Of course there are some who should stay away from IF – Children and teens under age 18. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. People with type 1 diabetes who take insulin.

Bring Back Better Baking

It’s simple

Bliss Bakery; Peachland, Okanagan, B.C.          Photo: d. king

“Imagine a world where the craftsmanship of the baker, the fragility of our planet, the integrity of the organic farmer, the strength of community and the simplicity of real food are valued and nourished.” – True Grain Vision (True Grain Bakehouse; Summerland).

The Art of Artisan baking gets resurrected with three outstanding places I recently visited on my B.C. road trip to the Okanagan and Kootenays.  Granted; the main focus was on visiting wineries and friends, however we can never overlook a good burger, sandwich or cinnamon bun.  And cookies!  And Brownies!

True Grain Bakehouse; Summerland, Okanagan, B.C. Photo: d. king

As Bliss Bakery says: “many people are unaware that so many bakeries today do not make their own products; rather they bring in mixes or sometimes even fully baked items and present it as their own – have you ever wondered why those Nanaimo Bars look so similar at all the different bakeries you go to?

Staying True to the Grain:  True Grain Bakehouse uses 100 % BC-farmed organic grain which they stone mill for everything. From ancient & heritage grains like Einkorn, Emmer, Rye, Khorasan and Spelt, to heritage wheat like Canada’s own Red Fife, they buy direct from organic farmers close to home.

Photo: d. king

“Each day our talented bakers make hundreds of loaves and pastries by hand, using tried and tested European-inspired recipes.  We don’t skimp on quality, and we never cut corners. The result is bread that is wholesome, full of flavour, and is simply a joy to eat.”

I wasn’t planning on this but a woman in front of me convinced me to buy a package.  I mean, if you’re going to indulge… make it worthwhile.  Photo: d. king

Amazing Grains.  Photo: d. king

Greener Pastures and a Community Lifestyle in Chilliwack, B.C.

The Yellow Deli was orginally started in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1973 and spread out to other countries.  This place is not a 9-to-5 job for the people who work here. This is a true “group effort” as everyone lives and works together. They live communally on a nearby farm where all the food served at The Yellow Deli is from.  Everything is so fresh and delicious.

From Farm to Tableliterally. This is a place you don’t want to miss if you’re passing through Chilliwack whether it’s for a bowl of soup, sandwich or a salad. Photo: d. king

Taken from the website: their group is a part of the-first-century-church which in essence lives in the pattern of the original church of Jerusalem 30 AD.  They are going back to the way it was originally. They hope to see many things that have gone off course be restored to the “way it was supposed to be.” 

“Obviously our hope for this world goes far beyond what politicians are promising these days, but we have high hopes and we believe we’ll see them fulfilled.”

So as you can see, there’s a lot more to the Yellow Deli than a great looking sandwich. But if you want one, they have it!

Bristol Bay Sandwich

I had the veggie burger which was the best tasting ever (with Chilliwack corn as part of what was in it).  Paul took out a cinnamon bun to which I had a bite and made sure to get one on the way back.  

Do you have a special bakery where you live?

Bliss Bakery; Peachland. Photo: d. king







Maybe it’s because I’m a wine lover

or maybe it’s because I’m going back to the Okanagan this week, but I wanted to check on the meaning behind some of the organic wine farming terminology.  And I thought you might want to know too.

We’re all familiar with organic and how farming without pesticides is much healthier for everyone, with a very meaningful benefit to the environment.

Biodiversity plays a key role in organic farming and we’re hearing the word “Biodynamic” a lot…but what is it?

For our friends at Summerhill/Pyramid winery in Kelowna, these organic + biodynamic practices have been standard and an integral part of wine making since it was purchased by the Cipes family in 1986.

There’s always a riesling for everything! But hey; I’m not even a huge reisling fan and this is my favourite. Not too sweet with just the right balance. An off-dry experience of lemon-lime, peach and green apple.

Shared from their newsletter:

Biodynamic Farming Considered the grandfather to organics, was introduced by Rudolf Steiner in 1924. This concept encouraged a more holistic approach to agriculture, prioritizing sustainable soil health and encouraging biodiversity. By balancing the interrelationship of soil, plants, and animals, we create a closed system where nothing is wasted. Summerhill was certified by Demeter International in 2012 and remains British Columbia’s only certified biodynamic vineyard.

Taken from Summerhill/Pyramid website

At the core of biodynamic farming is living in harmony with nature, harvesting soulful, beautiful food and returning nutrient back to the earth.

Biodiversity plays a key role in organic farming.  Since we don’t use any synthetics in our vineyards, we must encourage nature to fill ecological niches and maintain balance.  By allowing flowering plants to grow between the rows, we provide a home for beneficial insects such as ladybugs and praying mantises.  The natural flora also help to improve our soil life and water retention, important elements to growing quality grapes! 

Anthony Gismondi on wine gave this 90 points. He has this to say: Muscat is not for everyone, but it can be alluring when it’s as right as this one. Fragrant and floral from jasmine to orange blossoms, this wine brings it all to the table. I tried it and totally agree.

Our home vineyard is 17 hectares where natural springs emerge on the property, and join with creeks to create a beautiful wetland nature sanctuary that supports a variety of species.

Summerhill is committed to producing 100% organic wine.  Our Kelowna vineyard entered the certification program in 1988, and has received Demeter Biodynamic certification in 2012. In addition, our winemaking is also certified organic, allowing us to display the Canadian certified organic logo on our bottles, ensuring you can expect a high level of quality and purity.

Sidenote from Girl who would be King: might I add that their wine tastes better and doesn’t give you a headache (unless of course you really over indulge but that’s not what I’m talking about).  That’s not to say that I drink “only organic”  (although it is my preference to do so), however there is unfortunately not enough “all organic” wineries so I do try other wines and like many of them.  My only hope is that all wineries follow suit and go the Summerhill route to a healthier way of living/drinking.

Cheers to a good week ahead!


Living Wine + Living Well

The Rio Theatre is alive and well. So is the Canadian “Living Wine” premiere I attended there last night with a delightful pre-show wine tasting. The VIP wine tasting experience highlighted a number of thoughtfully curated living, biodynamic, and organic wines from local producers and distributors. Plus a special glass of Else Wines’ ‘Muscat on Skins.’

You’ve got to hand it to the Rio.  This multidimensional independent theatre is a Vancouver classic!  It has it all. Although it was touch ‘n go for a while it’s now going stronger than ever. I just found out about the wine tasting/film combo by attending a movie there the week prior – Downton Abbey “A New Era” – which was fabulous.

Summerhill Selectiona few of my favourites shown here! Proprietor Stephen Cipes was instrumental in fighting for organic practices for wine making in the Okanagan, B.C.  A true pioneer.  It’s happening little by little.

There’s so many great things about the Rio.  For starters it’s conveniently located steps away from the Commercial Drive/Broadway Skytrain Station if you want to leave your car behind.  They show everything from Cult Classics to must-see feature films.  They have live entertainment including comedy and burlesque festivals, local musicians and fashion shows.  Also Live Satellite for Oscars, Grammys, UEFA Euro Soccer and other events.

They have the best concession in the city and they serve only real buttered popcorn – the absolute best!

 “LIVING WINE” the documentary must-see for wine enthusiasts:

This documentary merges sweeping wine country footage with insightful interviews with wine makers. Filmmaker Lori Miller showcases the dynamic natural wine movement that is transforming a growing number of Northern California vineyards.

The natural wine movement in the U.S. is about 25 years behind the organic food movement, and “Living Wine” follows innovative natural winemakers in Northern California who stay true to their disparate and unique artistic and ecological visions, while managing to save their businesses during the worst wildfire season on record.

As we start to learn about farming grapes naturally – no chemical inputs of any kind – our experts: Dr. Tim LaSalle (Center for Regenerative Agriculture) and Elizabeth Candelario (Mad Agriculture) explain that chemicals used to make ammunition for bombs during World War II became repurposed as synthetic fertilizer after the war, and that agriculture is a major cause of climate change as the tilling of soil causes carbon release and soil degradation, and the use of chemical inputs (fertilizers pesticides, and herbicides) contaminate our waterways. We later learn about the processes used to make conventional wine – lots of additives and manipulation of flavors in the production process.

The doc delves into farming techniques, philosophies, and spirituality.A must-see for wine enthusiasts.

More ABOUT the Rio:

Built in 1938, the Rio has been fully restored with a state of the art digital projector, surround sound, a huge stage for live events, and 420 comfortable seats (with adjustable arms in case you’re on a date).

In 2012, The Rio won a hard fought battle with the BC Liquor board, to change the liquor laws so that movie theatres could serve alcohol. Since the BC Liquor Laws were changed in 2012, The Rio has full bar service with a wide range of local Craft beer & cider, local organic wines, mixed drinks & cocktails, plus their signature artisan Grilled Cheese sandwiches!  Pretty amazing, right?

I mean…c’mon!

Local boy Ryan Reynolds helped save the Rio.  The actor was a vocal supporter of ongoing efforts to secure funding for the historic venue and stave off a bid from a potential new owner that could have seen the demise of the theatre.

He tweeted: The Rio Theatre in Vancouver is legendary. Spoiler Alert: I plan to be buried there. 

An Instagram message from Ryan Reynolds:


Photos: d. king

Living Wine Trailer:

Rio Calendar:

Tea or Coffee?

What’s your preference?

For me it’s definitely coffee first thing in the morning and if I have tea it’s always mid-afternoon.

It becomes a ritual more than anything.  The preparation, the smell of fresh coffee beans and the perfect cup.  Not to mention the daytime perk and a few other benefits.

After years of studies that seemed to swing between dire warnings and cheery promises about what our favourite caffeinated beverages do and don’t do, much of the recent science regarding coffee and tea is generally positive.

According to what some clinical dietitians have to say for tea vs coffee for health benefits: drinking tea has been linked to lower risks of cancer and heart disease, improved weight loss, and a stronger immune system. Meanwhile, studies point to coffee as a potential way to head off not just Parkinson’s but type 2 diabetes, liver disease, and heart problems. 

Drinking too much of either can have an opposite effect.  Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the world, and if you have low iron levels, excessive tea intake may exacerbate your condition. Excess caffeine intake from tea may reduce melatonin production and disrupt sleep patterns.

For coffee it can be increased anxiety and poor sleep (especially if you drink it at night).

But let’s face it, almost anything in moderation is okay and almost everything in excessive amounts is not. Maybe the best thing is to have a little bit of both.

Of all the various types of teas we can choose green tea is often touted as the healthiest tea. It is chock full of polyphenols and antioxidants that help to boost brain and heart health. Green tea is considered one of the least processed true teas as it does not undergo oxidation. But it’s not always the best tasting. You have to go for high end Chinese green teas which are pan-fired or roasted featuring toasty and earthy flavors. Japanese green teas are steamed resulting in floral and vegetal tastes. I always ask my friend who lives in Tokyo to bring me back powdered matcha when she comes to visit. My neighbour has brought me back very nice green teas from China.

As far as coffee is considered, drinking it black is best because of the micronutrients, including potassium, magnesium, and niacin. The effects of coffee vary widely based on the type of bean, the brand of coffee, the roast, and the brewing method. I do French press and prefer an organic fair-trade brand the best but it’s the flavour that seals the deal. To my detriment I can only drink it with real cream and maple sugar ( therefore one cup is sufficient. Right now my favourite is “Joshue Treethe first roast and their espresso – I buy the beans and sometimes mix them together as one is medium roast and the other is dark. They’re full bodied but not bitter.  Second choice is “Peet’s” Major Dickason’s Coffee Blend – a rich, robust dark roast with full body.  Unfortunately we cannot buy these in Canada. I brought several bags back but now they’re finished.

Canadian brand “Kicking HorseKick Ass is also high on the list.  My latest purchase is Ethical Bean which is organic and fair trade – bought at Costco. 

When back in Palm Springs I’ll be sure to buy Joshua Tree at the farmers market or when visiting Joshua Tree.  In my opinion it’s still the best.

So what will it be...coffee or tea?