Savour Australia and glass

The wine world always makes for an exciting place. It’s perpetually in flux—no matter where you look. Barely a decade ago, you might have been excused for thinking that Australia was all about two things: Yellowtail and Shiraz. In fact, sometimes it seemed it was about only Yellowtail Shiraz. Period. However, after the critter label juggernaut […]

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Rigatoni alla salsiccia with wine glass

I love it when I discover new little places with a whole lot of heart. There’s no question that’s the case at Amici Miei Cucina Italiana (1114 Denman St. 604-563-6610), in Vancouver’s West End. Owners Manrico Serpente  and Marcella Gentile told me they came to Vancouver last year for the very first time, from Abruzzo, […]

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Vancouver Aquarium jellyfish

There’s something very reassuring about walking into Stanley Park on a perfect, almost Spring evening. This night was spectacular. A crystal clear partial eclipse of the moon was framed by a cascade of brilliant stars, Venus and Jupiter. I was on my way to the aquarium’s first Sustainable Table dinner in their new Vancouver Aquarium Chef Series. […]

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Vanessa Vineyard labels

Vanessa Vineyard is at the eastern end of British Columbia’s stunning Similkameen Valley.  The place (which reminds me a bit of New Zealand’s Gibbston Valley) is extraordinarily beautiful. But the other thing about the Similkameen that’s truly striking—and unavoidable—is the rocks. Big rocks—those are some ginormous mountains—and little rocks are what sets Similkameen apart. A couple […]

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Terrific First Tastes at Tacofino Tacobar

Tacofino Tacobar salsa

Gastown’s dining renaissance is continuing at a pretty good pace. And it’s being driven very much by the likes of newly opened Tacofino Tacobar, in Blood Alley Square. In recent years, Blood Alley has seen more than few changes, which were kicked off by Sean Heather, when he opened Salt; and further propelled by Heather’s  Judas […]

Read more February 20, 2015 Dining

JoieFarm Founders Go Separate Ways

Joie Farm founders Heidi Noble and Michael Dinn in easier times

My good friends Heidi Noble and Michael Dinn, founders of JoieFarm—one of the Okanagan’s most successful wineries—are going their separate ways. I have immense respect for these two people, what they’ve built in JoieFarm, and everything else that they’ve brought to the Okanagan. While I’m sad to see them part, kudos for them for handling this […]

Read more February 18, 2015 Wine

4 Great Reasons to Fall in Love with Nettles

Stinging nettles

My love affair with Stinging Nettles is a relatively recent occurrence. When I was growing up, in England, it seemed they were everywhere, including at the bottom of our garden. It was definite ‘no-go’ zone, a land of lost tennis balls, rusty cans and who knew what else? At junior school, the shooting range (air […]

Read more February 16, 2015 Dining

The Case for Fruit Wines and Chocolate

Forbidden Fruit's remarkable Cerise d'Eve, from the Similkameen Valley

I’ve never been all that crazy about wine with chocolate, well, not entirely. In fact most of the time there’s little that appeals to me about matching a Cab with a piece of even good dark chocolate, whatever anyone says. OK, Port can be fine. But at the end of the day, I’ll admit it: […]

Read more February 13, 2015 Wine

Umberto Readies Giardino for Spring Opening

Giardino owner Umberto Menghi

  Giardino—the reincarnation of Umberto Menghi’s celebrated Il Giardino restaurant—is getting ready to bloom sometime this spring. However, Umberto insists the new room will not be merely a revival but enjoy a distinct personality all of its own. The pioneering restaurateur says he can’t wait to welcome diners, as he brings his style of Tuscan cuisine […]

Read more February 7, 2015 Dining

16 Oceans Cocktails to Float your Sustainable Boat

Yew Oceans Glacial Snout

I’ll confess: I haven’t always been a huge fan of cocktail and food pairings. However, there was a time a short while back when it was all the rage. And for some it still is. Not a few bartenders, who thought they knew food, played with it as much for fun as anything. Sometimes it […]

Read more February 6, 2015 Cocktails