Food: ¿am I a Foodie or not?

What’s a FOODIE?  We hear the word a lot but what does it really mean? food1

It started out innocently enough standing in line waiting to sample Torafuku’s slow braised ox tail and tomato ragout paired with Burrowing Owl Estate Winery’s Cabernet Franc.  This was at the Chef Meets BC Grape Arts Club Fundraising evening at the Vancouver Convention Centre.  My third year in a row and my sister was my date.

A new label I really like - their Rosé became a favourite
A new label I really like – their Rosé became a favourite
An older label I really like
An older label I really like

Mingling is all part of this evening and a gentleman in line ahead of me struck up a conversation or did I? can’t be sure, doesn’t matter.  And then I tell this person I’m here because I’m a foodie didn’t really want to say wino.  He asks if I’ve been to the restaurant where we’re now waiting to sample food from called Torafuku.  I say no, not yetI cook at home a lot come to think of it. Then he asks if I’ve been to a few other fairly new trendy you’re nobody until you’ve been there places.   I say no once again.  He says “look, give me your booklet.”  I hand it over and he scribbles down six restaurants all new to me, three of which are at this event (but it doesn’t count because we don’t get to choose from the menu).  He then tells me until you’ve been to all of these restaurants please do not refer to yourself as a Foodie.”

So now I’m stuck because I pride myself on knowing a lot about food I think and I love to cook and thought a Foodie was someone who enjoyed good food, sophisticated or otherwise.  No?

Then I looked up the word in wikipedia really??  which goes to explain:

foodie is a person who has an ardent or refined interest in food and alcoholic beverages. A foodie seeks new food experiences as a hobby rather than simply eating out of convenience or hunger.

I don’t know what this guy is talking about….it describes me perfectly! Plus I eat out of convenience as well as being hungry!

Then I met a guy who represents “Dine Out Vancouver” and showed him my list of restaurants and asked him which ones he’d been to (restaurants seem to be popping up almost as fast as cannabis dispensaries – soon I won’t be able to keep up).  He replied no, none of them so far.  Ha!  Sigh of relief mixed with disbelief on my part.  Maybe I’m a food snob after all…which I really equated with being a Foodie all along.  Here’s the real clue …I’ve been making bone marrow broth before it became a trend and didn’t even realize it.

Here were some of my favourite food/wine pairings that were at Chef meets BC Grape:

Chicha Restaurant served Coconut Scallop Ceviche on house made Amarillo Peruvian Chili Rice Crackers paired with BC VQA JoieFarm Winery Riesling 2013.

La Pentola Restaurant (the chef is really cute by the way which also garnered points for this) served Burrata with Grilled Peaches, Crispy Speck, Sungold Tomatoes, Basil semi-gel and Pickled Mustard Seeds (imagine going to the trouble of pickling mustard seeds?) paired with Maverick Estate Winery VQA Sauvignon Blanc 2014.

Tableau Bar Bistro served Pheasant Boudin blanc (oh; I scored a foodie point – I know what boudin is because I’ve been to New Orleans) with Organic Garlic Veloute (a rich French sauce), Sapphire Basil Pesto & Pine Mushrooms paired with Dirty Laundry Vineyards VQA Naughty Chardonnay 2013.

Provence Marinaside Restaurant served Lamb Sirloin slider, grey baby cheese (they didn’t say which kind only that it’s grey and I suppose real foodies would already know what kind), smoked tomato relish (imagine smoking a tomato?) & beet chip paired with Upper Bench VQA Estate Grown Merlot 2012.

The one that got away:

Lift Bar Grill View served Beet Juice Cured Wild Salmon Gravlax, Candy Cane Beets & Foraged Wild Mushroom paired with Haywire VQA Okanagan Crush Pad The Bub NV. I was told it was delicious.

Lift on Thursday evening. I picked up a generous gift certificate for the 65 Roses Gala to be held on November 7th at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel to benefit Cystic Fibrosis (CF).
Lift on Thursday evening. I picked up a generous gift certificate for the 65 Roses Gala to be held on Saturday, November 7th at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel to benefit Cystic Fibrosis (CF).

Once again; take everything with a course grain of gourmet fleur de sel (unless that’s last year’s seasalt.

Feel-good Friday: mingle, shop, eat, drink, dance, love

When it rains, it pours…literally in Vancouver

Blue Tango Project
Blue Tango Project

It’s never a good idea to double book appointments but you might have to if it means going to the opening of a swanky USA new to Canada flagship downtown department store called Nordstrom (don’t worry Holt Renfrew, we’ll still see you once in a while) and another event featuring Vancouver’s top chefs and award-winning winemakers joining forces to create mouth-watering plates perfectly paired with delicious, complex BC wines. Decisions, decisions. I try not to spread myself too thin but such is life! 

Should I take shooter before or after shoe shopping?
Should I take a shooter before or after shoe shopping? Nordstrom Vancouver


I really like this wine glass holder
Red Shoe at The View – my kind of wine glass holder
A tasting pairing
A tasty pairing – one of many

Then there’s music and Argentine tango combined with soulful singing, haunting harmonica, and fabulous flautist (flute by lovely Astrid Sars– she produced this show).  Last night at the Orpheum Annex (with an amazing sound system by the way) I witnessed a collaboration between Argentine Latin Grammy nominee María Volonté on guitar and vocals, and California harmonica player Kevin Carrel Footer. They call themselves the Blue Tango Project and they celebrate the deep spiritual bond where tango and the blues merge together.  Their on tour one-stop in Vancouver show featured original songs mixed with oldies by Louis Armstrong & Leonard Cohen while scenes of Buenos Aires played on a projector in the background and an elegant tango couple (Deborah & Santiago I think they only have first names) appeared in a few sets.  I’ve been to Buenos Aires twice so this was definitely tango magic!  I’m looking to take a few privates soon….to brush up so to speak.

María Volonté
María Volonté

Last but certainly not least, Jack is Back!  I don’t know for how long exactly but my little Jack Russell terrorior is staying and playing with me.

uh ohh!
uh ohh….I smell trouble!

It should be a good long weekend.


the Loving Spoonful(s)
the Loving Spoonful(s)

ChefmeetsBCGrape: I was too busy mingling and sampling to take many photos but the event was FABulous.

Healthy Food – Vietnamese Salad Rolls

A friend prepared these delicious salad rolls shown in photo.  She did not have a specific recipe however I found one that you can follow and add chicken or prawns to if you like.  They’ve got the three essentials – that is they’re delicious, healthy and low fat.  What was really nice is how she served them with lettuce leaves lining the plate – presentation, presentation ladies and gents!

Photo: d. king
Photo: d. king

Don’t you hate it when you ask someone for a recipe and they say “I don’t have a recipe, just use whatever you have on hand – they’re so easy to make.”  Said friend made the best sukiyaki (again, no recipe and who makes sukiyaki anyway – you’re lucky to even find it on the menu at any Japanese restaurant) but believe me I took mental notes and I’m making it and will follow up for you on that dish at a little later date. When it starts to get a bit cooler out maybe even tomorrow. I need to buy another appliance before doing so.  For now make this & cut them up smaller for appetizers:

MAKES 4 ROLLS (regular size)

You can try different dipping sauces – why not have options? In photo the wraps are made with chicken and the dipping sauce is thai sweet chili which can be store bought if you don’t have the time to make it from scratch.

for the peanut sauce 

1 tablespoon soy sauce (I prefer low sodium)

2 teaspoons fish sauce

2 tablespoons natural peanut butter

juice of 1 lime

1 shallot, roughly chopped (1/4 cup)

1 small garlic clove, peeled and roughly chopped

1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

¼ cup sesame oil

2 teaspoons maple syrup

for the rolls:

8 rice paper spring roll wrappers

1 head butter lettuce, leaves separated and washed

12 fresh mint leaves

12 fresh basil leaves

8 sprigs fresh cilantro

½ English cucumber, cut into sticks

1 small avocado, thinly sliced

  • About 2 cups cooked rice vermicelli cooled down (optional)
  • fresh bean sprouts (optional)
  1. To make the peanut sauce, blend all ingredients until smooth.
  2. Meanwhile, cut or tear the hard rib from each butter lettuce leaf and prep all other filling ingredients.
  3. Fill a bowl large enough to hold the spring roll wrappers with warm water. Soak one wrapper for about 1 minute, or until just pliable, then lay flat on a cutting board. Layer in lettuce leaves, folding large ones in half, then fresh herbs, cucumber, and sliced avocado. Then rice vermicelli, meat (if using) and bean sprouts.
  4. Carefully roll up the wrapper, leaving both ends open. Soak another wrapper and wrap existing roll inside to secure ingredients.
  5. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling ingredient. Then, pack in an air-proof container, layering in a damp paper towel to keep the rice paper moist.
  6. Serve with dipping sauce on the side.

Originally featured in An End of Summer Picnic on goop

Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce:

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/4 cup hot water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon red chili paste, such as sambal

Source for chili sauce: Food Network

I’ve made traditional Vietnamese salad rolls in the past using lettuce, rice vermicelli, prawns, green onion and bean sprouts with peanut dipping sauce.  They’re actually pretty easy to make.  At first you might break a few of the wraps because they’re so thin but when you get the hang of it they’re fun to make.  It just took my friend making these to remind me that they’re a BIG HIT at parties! Everyone loved them.  Everyone asked for the recipe.  You’re welcome!

Upcoming Vancouver Event:

Join me at one of my favourite Fall fundraisers –  the annual Arts Club event CHEF MEETS BC GRAPE featuring up to 90 BC wineries pouring over 350 award-winning wines, delectably paired with locally inspired dishes from top British Columbia restaurants.  See why BC food is designed for BC wine!

Signature Tasting
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Vancouver Convention Centre East
999 Canada Place, Ballrooms A, B and C
7–9:30 PM