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A Taste of Place 

We had the good fortune of a day off this past weekend and so we took full advantage. It’s a bit early to celebrate the bounty of the region but we did our best. 

The best place to start is you want a taste of fresh local food is a farmers market. My favourite in our region is the Penticton market, a sprawling conglomeration of farm booths, food trucks, craft vendors and even a bit of kitsch. Being able to wander Main Street amongst the families with dogs and children while being serenaded by the many buskers along the way is a special experience. I love the chance to enjoy my coffee in a ceramic mug too – local roasters Cherry Hill offer freshly brewed java and you just deposit the mug in one of the bins they provide en route.

I brought my travel mug this time, but another great environmental gesture is their innovative “stir sticks” – biodegradable and low cost!

There is plenty of sustenance to be had – we each got a muffin from Brodo Kitchen and some fresh-picked strawberries (“picked last night” he told us). The fruit galette we got at Joy Road Catering we wanted to save for later, but we also could have munched on Thai food, crepes, tacos, or any one of a myriad of pastry choices. 

This early in the summer the fruits and veggies are not as plentiful of course. However there are plenty of booths offering flower bouquets, homemade preserves, honey, eggs, and even frozen meat from the farm. 

There is something both strong and delicate about fresh seasonal blossoms….

These guys weren’t kidding – you can take home your own guava tree! How cool is that?


Another wing of the market has crafts and artistic products as well as goods sold by what I call “hawkers”. These items are no so much “as seen on TV”, as they are nifty inventions or natural alternatives for household or body maintenance. I feel like I’m at the county fair when I walk this section; it’s entertaining. 

I thought this artist’s commentary was well done – sometimes we don’t recognize just how much heart and soul goes into someone’s creative efforts.


This fellow might be working to expand his demographic- he offers bat boxes for the adventurous, bird houses for the artsy folk, and even redneck bird feeders!

 

Once we had our fill of the market fun, we mosied up the road for some wine. After all, when in Rome – or wine country … We didn’t have much time but I had pre-ordered some wines in the spring. I took a bunch of scenic photos and a few pages of notes, so that will be in a soon-to-be released post. 

Here’s hoping you make time to taste the flavours of where you are this weekend. 

Random Thoughts, and Trends

I was scanning the news this morning and thinking foodie thoughts in a rather stream-of-consciousness fashion. Nothing seemed to stick, it was all random. My brain went with that theme and suddenly I was humming the Arlo Guthrie tune about a pickle…

 

That was my inspiration today. My commentary on some of the new cooking and eating trends is entirely random, and without any expertise other than my own tastebuds. It’s fun to be adventurous and think outside the box, but when I threw so many random trends together it made me wonder if we aren’t trying too hard to be unusual. But then, comfort food and retro recipes are other popular trends. Anything is possible.

  1. Brinner – when you miss breakfast, you can have it for dinner! Some of this trend is centered around the concept of putting a poached egg on top of a dish, but there’s something to be said for making more meals acceptable for all those wonderful Sunday brunch dishes 🙂
  2. Gyros – it’s cooler when your wrap has an ethnic name, isn’t it? The Greek flatbread with flavourful fillings is the new wrapped sandwich craze. Portable food is always cool in today’s world. If only there was an app that would allow telepathic texting while you eat…
  3. Donuts – what else can you put in them? It’s frankly scary the range of fillings available in fried pastry, and then consider the variations of stuffed food similar to a donut – like kolaches (great with plum jam but now possible with candied jalapenos and smoked beef, just because).
  4. “I dare you” food – ever tried beef tongue? How about fresh grated horseradish? Foraged greens? Moss? It’s all out there for the adventurous. Chefs love shock value too sometimes.
  5. New twists on beverages – craft beer pubs are passé; look for beer bars with odd themes (think different glassware or decor and innovative beer styles). Wine is okay, but mead is more fun. And cocktails can come with any kind of garnish now, even scented feathers!
  6. Salt cod – no really, you have to try it! Andrew Knowlton, the editor of Bon Appetit magazine, said it looks like “a last-resort snack for those beyond the wall in Game of Thrones”, but treated properly it is delectable.
  7. Nitro coffee – because life just keeps getting more Fast & Furious. Seriously, why have just caffeine when you can have it injected with nitrogen and served from a tap? It has a creamy texture not unlike a pint of Guinness. Or you can just have cold brewed coffee, the minimalist version.
  8. restaurant names like never before – in an effort to be new and inventive, owners are picking terms like “luncheonette” and “provisions” to sound unique. Couple this with some wacky ingredient or animal name (think anise hyssop or blue oyster) and you’re all set. Only trouble is everyone else is using the same kind of formula – go figure. It sounds like the new Facebook quiz – “What would your name be if you were a restaurant?”
  9. Lithuanian and South African cuisine – it sounds like someone spun a globe and said “quick, what countries have we not featured on menus recently?” But there are some interesting foods to try – a Lithuanian stuffed potato dumpling called a cepelinai sounds delicious, and I love bobotie, a sort of South African shepherd’s pie.
  10. Pickles – you thought I was going to leave you hanging, didn’t you? Don’t you agree, what with kimchi everywhere now and pickled mushrooms as garnish and pickled fruit on cheese boards… the recession wasn’t that bad we need to preserve everything! I love a crunchy dill pickle like the next person, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

How trendy are you? Does any of this stuff even pique your interest, or are you more of a Meatless Monday, Tuna Casserole Tuesday kind of person? Does your family enjoy trying new things? I’d love to hear your comments.

Breathe. Think good thoughts. Repeat. 

Apparently it’s “Blue Monday” today – the day you are most likely to be depressed due to it being the dead of winter. Well I for one am not going to just roll over and give up. Thankfully, if I felt that bad I know I have friends I could contact. (If you don’t think you have anyone, reach out to a professional – there is a hand if you have the courage to ask!) 


If you can be of help, please do so. It will mean a lot, even if it’s a little thing. 

Seen at Third Space Coffee in Kelowna – ok, it’s tongue in cheek but a good reminder to connect.


So, taking the positive route, I’m just having a moment today to let my imagination work. A moment to think on my good work of late, and what else I’d like to do – or need to get done. I encourage everyone to do the same. 


Here’s to all of us! 

Funny, I just remembered it’s Martin Luther King Day, because I thought of one of his quotes:


Do good! We all have it in us. 

Pause-café

Sundays are my favourite day of the week. I love the relaxing decadence of a day devoted to good things, family and best friends. After all, have you ever heard anyone speak of  Monday brunch or Tuesday dinner? We gather on Sunday like no other day. It is a day to share and capture those treasured moments we look back on.

Sundays are my big day for coffee, because I devote the time to sit and enjoy it. In French “pause-café sounds more elegant than a coffee break, and it seems to demand attention.  I am a morning person so I don’t need caffeine to get going. I like being able to enjoy a cup with breakfast, but most days I’m busy so breakie is a quick bowl of yogurt and fruit. Sunday if I have the time  it’s fresh coffee, a hot breakfast with my man.  Then another cup of coffee and a chance to catch up on good news with CBS Sunday Morning with my furry girl. I’ve been watching the show since I was a kid and my Dad and I enjoyed it together. (A shout out to now-retired but always loved host, Charles Osgood, for his birthday today!)

In a world where Mach speed seems the norm, the lazy pace of Sundays should be lauded and preserved. So lean back, put your feet up and snuggle in next to a loved one. You are logging quality time, remember.

P.S. For those who read my post yesterday, the bread turned out great! I’m writing out the recipe later today – look for “Whole Wheat Bread” in the recipe archives.

The best present is time 

 

My dad always made a big deal about drinking his coffee in a “real cup”. He would never visit Starbucks because they only offered “to go” cups and he was NOT going to bring his own cup if he had to pay for the coffee. I used to think he was just getting to be an old-fashioned curmudgeon. Now that I’m sitting here with my delicious latte in a ceramic mug and homemade banana bread I completely understand what he meant. 

Perhaps part of my understanding comes from not having my dad around to share a coffee anymore. I value highly all those coffee breaks we did get. He left us far too soon; I had so many more conversations in me to have over so many more cups of coffee. 

I went to see “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” at the theatre this past week – it was delightful, full of one-liners uttered by wise old characters who know how absurd the world can be.  The best line of all was “the best present is time”. So true.

So, I’m taking this moment … To remember my wonderful Daddy and to leave you with my thoughts 🙂 Take a moment for yourself soon, even if you feel you have to steal it. It’s the best present you can give yourself and your loved ones. 

And thanks to Giobean Cafe in Kelowna for the wonderful coffee and goodies. My Dad would have loved you guys. 

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