Wine Wednesday: Spadefoot Toad Series

What is Spadefoot Toad you ask?  Aside from being a round amphibian creature with short legs and protruding eyes…it’s one of my favourite red wine!

If you’re a wine lover you must check out these three recently released spectacular, highly anticipated new labels from the coveted Spadefoot Series at Summerhill Pyramid Winery.

Keeping it in the family; Ezra Cipes (second generation) is extremely proud to present these wines, made in partnership with grape grower Ron Firman at his idyllic Spadefoot Toad Vineyard in Oliver, BC, along with the legendary Canadian artist and activist Robert Bateman, who has drafted an original illustration specially for the labels. Ten percent of the proceeds from each bottle sold supports the Bateman Foundation’s work to nurture the next generation of conservationists.

Robert Bateman “Ocean Rhapsody” Orca Painting

Spadefoot wines are made entirely from organic grapes grown lovingly at Ron Firman’s Spadefoot Toad Vineyard in Oliver, BC. Ron tends his small acreage as if it were a garden, carefully applying compost to each individual vine and creating habitat for the at-risk Great Basin Spadefoot Toads to breed for natural pest control.
 
Ron grows pristine grapes that give concentrated, age-worthy wines that truly reflect the care he takes in his vineyard. Each single-vineyard bottling is a special expression of the south facing slope on which his vines are cultivated.
 
If you are searching for the perfect wines to enjoy over cool autumn evenings or to stow away in your cellar for future sipping, look no further! These three distinct bottlings are exploding with flavour and intensity that will only deepen with time.

2016 Spadefoot Toad Syrah
Bold, dark and smooth with notes of blackberry, soft leather, ripe raspberry and black pepper. Forty-seven months of neutral oak aging brings a whisper of vanilla and spice. Firm, gripping tannins and bright acidity buttress the concentrated fruit flavours, providing excellent structure for long term cellaring.
 
2017 Spadefoot Toad Sangiovese
2017 was a true vin de garde vintage here in the Okanagan. This unique take on a classic Tuscan variety is seductive and velvety, with a juicy core of candied cherry and fresh blueberry notes and whispers of tomato leaf, vanilla cola and baking spices. Exceptional fruit concentration balanced with vibrant freshness!
 
2018 Spadefoot Toad Sangiovese
Succulent and finessed. A clean, classic vintage with a long and steady growing season resulted in this elegant, medium-bodied Sangiovese. Red and blue fruits dominate the nose, carry through the palate, and are deepened by heady notes of clove and potting soil. Intense and full of soul… perfect for the changing seasons.uan etched, branded wine decanter to show off these wines at their very best.

To date this has been one of my favourites

2014 Spadefoot Toad Syrah

Elegant small lot, single-vineyard expression.  Available here:

https://www.summerhill.bc.ca/product/2014-Spadefoot-Toad-Syrah?pageID=75B3C5AF-E336-E1D7-D4C6-86C645A2D12B&sortBy=DisplayOrder&maxRows=24&&productListName=Shop%20Wine&position=12

Wine Wednesday: Vin Van

WINE events | VANCOUVER BC

Inclusive and approachable evenings centered around a love of wine.

Introducing

Vin Van is a pop-up wine company run by two friends, neighbours and wine obsessives: Jo & Steph.
Hailing from different sides of the Atlantic, they were on the same page when it came to what was missing from the food and drink culture in Vancouver, and decided to try something of their own.

“We run a weekly wine bar on Wednesday’s at Dock Lunch, a wine focused supper club series in unexpected locations throughout the city, as well as bespoke private and corporate events.

These events are about sharing our combined mix of influences of good wine and food in unpretentious, approachable environments.

Inspired by the wine bars of Europe, our wine bar evenings aim to be casual, inclusive and never pretentious. We bring in new wines every week so there’ll always be something surprising to sip on!”

OU – EST

Wine Wednesday: Here’s the Thing

The SMALL LOT FIVE- little hidden gems; BIG on taste.

vinAmité Cellars: Hiding in plain sight

Photo: d. king

“vin-ah-mee-tay” – meaning: harmony, friendship, meeting of minds of family and friends.

The word “vin” in French means wine

The word “Amite” is an old fashioned word going back to Medieval times,

Meaning friendship and balance in life.

Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king

Here we sampled a few whites with names like “Chanson d’amour” which alone was enough to make us want to buy a bottle or two.  Followed by a  single red varietal Petit Verdot and a few blends with charming names like “Compass” and “Hidden Corner.”  

We were tipped off to make sure to order the charcuterie cone (yes; it’s a cone, not a board.) And it was Fab!

This hand-crafted family estate vineyard makes small quantity wines with character and taste that are true to each grape varietal and honor the history of the wine and the winemakers’ special touch. 

The vineyard is well over two decades old, yet each wine is carefully crafted to the tastes of modern life. The wines are enjoyable and easy drinking.  With $15 tasting fee you get a crystal Riedel wine glass – lightly inscribed with their name on the glass.  Very classy.

Photo: d. king

Fairview Cellars

Photo: d. king

We no sooner pulled up to this boutique style winery when we were eagerly greeted by a very friendly golden retriever.  A nice start to another favorful and flavourful tasting.

The 10 acre property located adjacent to the first green of the Fairview Mountain Golf Course was purchased by Bill Eggert in 1989.  After development of the water system the vineyard was started in 1993. 

I can’t remember what Margeaux bought but I ended up with a bottle called Bucket O’ Blood – a white wine it is not.  It wasn’t open for tasting however a table of six ordered a full bottle and raved about how good it was.  They said every time they go to the winery they order the same bottle. Sold!

Photo: d. king

http://www.fairviewcellars.ca/fairviewcellars.ca/Welcome.html

Second Chapter

We skipped straight to the Second Chapter.  This is certainly a unique winery that produces no more than 4,000 cases featuring truly local wines inside a funky building made out of two 40 x 8 sea cans.

Apparently it’s a trend. Guess you can refer to it as a cannery. I’ll blog more on the home can craze separately because I was fascinated by them and have been checking out some amazing examples – you wouldn’t even know what they were…if you didn’t already know what they are.  But getting back to wine…

Our firecracker pourer Dianne Gibson @diannegibsongirl entertained us with stories and she happens to also design amazing corsets and costumes.  She was a riot. The wine was good but it would have been a totally different experience had she not been there.  Let’s just say she made it better.  I would go back just to see her again.  Ok; let’s not forget who I am – to also drink wine.

River Stone

River Stone is a small, family owned and operated winery located on a small knoll in the middle of the valley, just south of the well-recognized McIntyre Bluff and just north of Oliver.

Photo: d. king

The day we arrived they were in the middle of a private tasting on their gorgeous outdoor garden setting.

https://www.riverstoneestatewinery.ca/

Here’s the Thing Winery:

I saved the best for last; literally.

One more thing: I clearly make no apologies for drinking gorgeous wine. Photo: d. king

See the idyllic farmhouse in the distance?  That’s the winery. It may be yellow in color (even though in this photo it looks to be white) but the entire site is truly ‘green’. You won’t see any wires running to their buildings because they’re 100% off the grid!

Photo: d. king

The place wasn’t even open when we arrived on the drive out.  They were in the midst of getting set up and their computer was down so we went for a walk for half an hour then came back to be first in line. Margeaux already left for her drive back to Castlegar so I did a mid morning round on my own. Don’t worry; my boyfriend was the designated driver.

Let me be clear that as a rule I never drink wine before noon.  Normally not even before 5:00 pm.  5:01 is when I start.  What a surprise.  Fabulous wines.  I bought one of each and called Margeaux to tell her she missed a good tasting. Margeaux; having FOMO (fear of missing out – I didn’t even know what the letters meant until just recently so don’t feel bad), ended up ordering a case with the four bottles I sampled.

We have our wine map for next time.  Only 40 more to go!  

Cheers everyone!

 Wine + Dine in Canada’s Wine Capital

My friend and I experienced two exceptional wine country dining experiences.  

Wine Tasting at Tinhorn Creek. Photo: d. king

Burrowing Owl Tasting. Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king

The Sonora Room Restaurant at Burrowing Owl Winery is where Margeaux and I had dinner on the first of our two night stay in Oliver, B.C.  That was after wine sampling next door at the winery, and before finishing off our special bottle from the restaurant’s wine library.  The library holds exclusive wines with a list changed regularly that are no longer publicly available for sale.  And of course, they go along to compliment the menu.  They have a very talented culinary team.

We both had the chef’s specialty of the day –  Beef short rib – was phenomenal! Photo: d. king

From their website:

“The philosophy… is to embrace the
privilege and the opportunity to
showcase many of the local producers
with their array of local organic
produce, fresh, seasonal fruits and
artisan breads and cheeses.”

Instead of dessert we decided to go back to our luxury B+B “uncorked”  and polish off the leftover wine with a cheese assortment and “Hooray” decadent chocolate truffles  (the ones that are included in my gift packages – but more on this later).  Yes we indulged!

The views from Burrowing Owl – fyi you can book a room there too.

Photo: d. king

Photo: d king

The second night we chose Miradoro at Tinhorn Creek Winery on the advice of the maître d’ from the Sonora Room at Burrowing Owl.  There are many fine places to dine in Oliver but these two restaurants were highly recommended and we also wanted to do wine tasting at their wineries before dinner so it was perfect.

Photo: d. king

At Miradoro the locally sourced market cuisine menu has a Mediterranean influence, drawing inspiration from countries like Italy, Spain and Portugal – countries that know a thing or two about food and wine pairing.

When it comes to modern, local and sustainable cuisine, Chef Jeff Van Geest (check him out; he’s amazing) is one of British Columbia’s most celebrated chefs.

Not only were the wines superb but the panoramic views from the valley below were to die for!  Both restaurants have amazing outdoor seating however it was a bit chilly both nights so we decided to dine inside.

The view from our outdoor wine tasting looking over to Burrowing Owl. Photo; d. king

Photo: d. king Again; we ordered the exact same thing.  This time delicious stuffed wild salmon.

Both restaurants including their adjoining wineries require reservations.  We were very lucky the first night especially because we got in due to a cancellation – the room was booked a few weeks in advance.  And this is in September!

https://www.tinhorn.com/Restaurant

The Sonora Room

Next I’ll blog about the small lot wineries.  So many wines; so little time!

Next time we’re going here on the advice of a winery owner and others:

Come eat, drink and relax at Popolo Cafe! We’re located inside a beautifully renovated church. Choose from a variety of unique sitting areas and enjoy fresh homemade pasta dishes and more with a glass of local wine, beer, or an espresso beverage.

Poplolo Café Pasta Gelato

Feel-good Friday: Fusion

Photos from an afternoon gathering last Friday at Summerhill Pyramid Winery in Kelowna amongst interesting people and the most delicious Asian Fusion food...with a twist.

A sampling of creative Chinese, Korean and Japanese delicacies put together by chef Yan Cowan of Lucky Dragon Catering, who is considering to franchise. And lucky us; we were invited which was an unexpected but welcome surprise considering I had booked a reservation at the bistro for myself, my boyfriend and my next door neighbour who happened to be in Kelowna at the same time.

It was a feast for hungry eyes!

gyoza

Yan  (the caterer who prepared all this food) Chris (her commercial realtor friend) and Stephen (proprietor of Summerhill Pyramid Winery – the best all organic winery ever).

rice with eggplant
sesame chicken wings
Sushi

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although the Summerhill Bistro is always excellent, it’s not every day that you get to be part of a most yummy experiment. 

The foodie in me will always appreciate times like this. Friends old and new make it all that much more worthwhile.

Look forward to our next meal visit.

spicy green beans

vegetable tempura – exquisite


Sample Menu below.  

 

She’s amazing!

:

Wine Wednesday: It takes a Village

The first of an open-ended number of Wine Wednesday posts for the unforeseeable future.

District Wine Village Ampitheatre before noon on opening Saturday. Photo: d. king

SIP HAPPENS 

Just spent 3 unforgettable nights and days in Oliver; The Wine Capital of Canada, home to nearly half of British Columbia’s vines and more than 40 wineries. While there, my friend Margeaux and I were at the official opening day of the first wine village in Canada, aptly named District Wine Village.  It’s a unique on-site vineyard built around a huge Ampitheatre with a local community mindset, celebrating artisan production and craftsmanship in wine, beer, food and entertainment.  You don’t have far to go from one tasting to another and I hear the venue for live music is amazing.  Unfortunately we didn’t stay for the concert as we had dinner reservations elsewhere that evening.

Photo: d. king

History taken from their website (link below):

The History

Many business ideas are born over glasses of wine and that is exactly what happened with Okanagan Falls born and raised, long-time friends and neighbours, Max Brock and Matt Kenyon. Max had previously travelled throughout the US and had seen the model of winery clusters in other wine regions and wanted to bring the model to BC, the first of its kind in Canada. Together, they created a concept to launch this one-of-a-kind village in wine country. Expanding on this concept was to include Matt’s love of beer and food resulting in the inclusion of a craft brewery and a restaurant on site.  Sadly, Max passed away before breaking ground. The District Wine Village project continued on, and is now being built in honour of Max and his family.

Michael Daley, an industry veteran was brought on as Director of Operations to bring the project to fruition, and the vision to life in further planning and the building out of the village. The rest as they say is history.

Photo: d. king
Photo: Margeaux Bauman

This YouTube video was taken before opening day

Local Dining: Dock Lunch

Your Window to Home Cooking starts here…

Photo: d. king

Well actually it starts at home.  However if you have an opportunity to have as good or better a meal in a restaurant that resembles your grandmother’s home, then look no further.  The owner appropriately refers to it  as “my apartment café” as the exact location was her home.

Our charcuterie starter included parma prosciutto and a whipped feta with olive oil. Photo: d. king

Noticed the heritage building with the inviting sign out front by accident during the summer when I was on Main Street. Unfortunately the restaurant was closed at the time.  A few of the surrounding business owners who were sitting out front raved about the regular lunches that are served only by RSVP and then received at the takeout window.  Elizabeth; the owner and chef, used to reside at what is now the restaurant, specializing in lunch and brunch menu.  I called to make a reservation and was told they were opening for dinner (and would continue to on occasion for private parties) starting September 10th.  Voilà!  Went with my friend Janice on a lovely evening where we sat outside.  The inside is very tiny with only a few tables that were already reserved.  Lucky for us the weather cooperated.  The food is local, sustainable, creative, comfort food.  Of course I had to check it out.

 

Photo: d. king  Autumn Salad with crispy Kale and homemade Spaetzle with local mushrooms.  Excellent!  Wish I had a bigger appetite for the Rib-Eye and Steelhead.

Photo: d. king

Elizabeth; the owner. This photo: Vancouver Sun

Our Menu

The cake was delicious.           

Text 604 655 7050 to make a reservation

Another review from none other than Bon Appetit:

https://www.bonappetit.com/city-guides/vancouver/venue/dock-lunch

Alimentaria Mexicana

Alimentaria Mexicana, located at Granville Island, is second to none for Mexican food and cocktails here in Vancouver.

In actuality it is second to none for what I’ve tasted and tested anywhere outside Oaxaco; known as the gastronomic capital of Mexico. That’s saying a lot. I went there with my friend Rosa who is from Mexico City and she said the same thing.  You’ll need to make a reservation as this place is becoming very popular and gets filled up quickly,  Now I know why.  Vegetarian options available.

The cantina offers exceptional quality, locally and internationally sourced artisanal products and provisions. And a few other extras…

Coming soon!

FABRICA

The first dedicated tortilleria in Canada.  Handcraft artisanal tortillas comprising non-GMO native corn that is ethically sourced and traceable to families from an array of First Nations communities in Oaxaca.

MERCADO

The mercado will offer a curated selection of Mexican and Canadian specialty provisions as well as handmade textiles, pottery, tortilla presses and more.

Soon we’ll be able to pop by the cute ‘El Caminero’ take-out window and grab a bite to take and enjoy in the park, on the beach or in our own backyards.

Taken from Website:

Behind every chile, kernel of corn and native grain  sourced from Mexico are stories with thousands of years of heritage, genetics and biodiversity attached to them. 

https://alimentariamexicana.com/

Location: 1596 Johnston St. (across from the main market entrance – Granville Island).

For reservations: (236.521.8440)

Only Churros for dessert but with dulce de leche it’s enough to complete the evening.

 

Photos: d. king

 

The Red Accordian

THIS PLACE is considered one of Vancouver’s Best Kept Secrets.  And like most secrets you want to keep it all to yourself…

but sometimes you can’t help but share the news.  Like right now.  So get in the mood because if you’re…

feeling nostalgic? Or; feel like leaving the comfort of your home to go to the comfort of a place that feels like an extension of your home? Only one with amazing cocktails and menu?  Is this beginning to sound like an ad?  Its not!

It’s the Red Accordian. It’s my new comfort zone.  It’s here in Vancouver’s downtown West End. I’m happy to endorse it.

I love so many things about this place.  For starters I like the sign that points the direction as you walk around trying to locate it.  I love the homey (not homely) building. I was last there when it was a French restaurant called “Le Gavroche” many years ago.

The ambiance now is a warm combination of part bordello, part your grandparents furniture, part old movie set.  There’s a friendly bartender (co-owner Jaime took care of us) and lots of nooks & crannies to sit yourself down.  Not only that; but an outdoor deck, a downstairs patio and a lounge.  Good service, good food (our bread that came with the best hummus ever was actually fried dough – I would live on this, although I know better). I’m not kidding when I say it was that good.

They have a wine list however the cocktail list was too intriguing not to try. I had Grandma’s Garden Gin & Tonic Copa with odd society wallflower (light pink) gin, fever tree aromatic tonic and flower petals. My friend ordered long table cucumber gin, fentiman’s tonic, cucumber ribbon and pea tendrils.  See what I’m talking about?

Jamie

As for the name of the place…it’s named after the accordion that used to belong to the mother of the Serbian wife of the other co-owner who’s name is Cale.  I feel nostalgic because the only instrument my dad played was an accordion.  He once came home with a red accordion for me when I was very young  (I know; I know…like what was he thinking?) so to indulge him I took a few lessons and could actually play a few tunes. Until I got tired of it.

But I won’t get tired of this Red Accordian – it’s a tough place to leave.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos: d. king

Websitehttps://www.theredaccordion.com

Address: 1616 Alberni Street, Vancouver, B.C.

Edamame Elevated

During summer months and especially now with this scorching heat, I’m leaning towards quick ‘n easy recipes that don’t skimp on flavor.

Photo: d. king

Usually a side dish when ordering sushi, edamame is super easy to make at home and to serve as part of a Japanese home style dinner or as a snack or in a salad (with pods removed from shell). 

I borrowed this simple and savory recipe from the unfortunately now defunct Jazz Cellar club in Vancouver.  Along with listening to the best jazz musicians in the city, it was always a staple on their menu.  It was also an elevated taste to what you would normally get in any Japanese restaurant where they serve up plain edamame with salt.

This recipe is a little different because I first steam the pods on their own then sauté them in a mix of toasted sesame oil, fresh chopped garlic  + ginger, chili flakes and *soy sauce. Then mix everything together in a bowl and sprinkle generously with course sea salt.

Photo; d. king

Ok; well I guess that IS the recipe.  Since the bulk of the flavor is on the outside…make sure to lick the pods.

*Unless you have a soy allergy, edamame is likely safe to eat.  There are several health benefits of Edamame:

In addition to being a decent source of soy protein, edamame is rich in healthy fiber, antioxidants and vitamin K. 

It does not raise blood sugar, 

Edamame (RDI) Mature soybeans (RDI)
Folate 78% 14%
Vitamin K1 33% 24%
Thiamine 13% 10%
Riboflavin 9% 17%
Iron 13% 29%
Copper 17% 20%
Manganese 51% 41%

Enjoy!