In my long break, I’ve been reflecting how lucky we are to live in the Okanagan. Staying close to home to follow our provincial Covid-19 regulations and guidelines is much easier living in this amazing region.
The local food and beverage industry has met the challenge to serve us and tend to the safety of customers and staff. It’s been a long haul and expensive for the industry to make the changes necessary so we can still enjoy expertly prepared cuisine. Whether it’s additional cleansing and spacing when we dine inside or the attention to detail on takeout meals, the culinary industry has been creative and continues to strive for best practices.
Amid these uncharted waters, some enterprising souls braved opening new establishments. In Penticton, for example, we checked out:
• BaBa Express – Where we found “fresh and healthy Vietnamese cuisine full of herbs, fresh veggies, and love” for takeout.
• Caffe d’Italia – As the name indicates an Italian-themed outlet for fine coffees and treats to round out the downtown experience.
• Corleone’s Pizza – Launched by x in addition to Caffe d’Italia, there’s a fun homage to The Godfather movies in this pizza, meatballs and other new world Italian comfort food.
DATE NIGHT AND SPECIAL EVENINGS LIKE VALENTINE’S DAY
The options for elevated takeout continue to evolve and inspire throughout BC with the bar set high in the Okanagan. We’re not talking those conventional takeout examples where you pick up the food that’s heated and ready to eat. Rather these are sophisticated takeout with menus of multiple courses with thoughtful instructions. Through these experiences, the takeaway is delicious cuisine and some lessons on preparation and presentation. Just two noteworthy ones we recently partook, include:
• Backyard Farm, Oliver – In 2014, Chef Chris Van Hooydonk and his wife Mikkel opened Backyard Farm as a culmination of over 25 years in the culinary industry. On a property steeped in rich farm history, they created a private dining facility to strike a better balance for family/work life. They leveraged the 80-plus old growth heritage varieties of fruit trees on site, adding raised bed gardens and ground crops to embrace farm-to-table as a way of life beyond a menu philosophy.
Backyard Farm quickly became a go-to for the Chef’s Table, private chef services, catering and culinary workshops. Also available are hand crafted preserves and products and depending on your timing, chocolate truffles, breads, seasonally inspired soup or stock and artisan charcuterie items. To learn more about all that is offered and to opt in to an email list to be on top of what’s available, see backyard-farm.ca
Valentine’s Day felt different amid Covid-19 restrictions and while we often don’t make such a fuss, this year we craved something special. So, we jumped quickly when Backyard Farm sent out its special four-course menu with an add-on of the handcrafted chocolates.
The detailed menu and preparation notes included beautiful wine pairing suggestions.
Starter was Cold Fermented Sourdough Brioche Dinner Rolls with Roasted Garlic Hummus.
Appetizer of Handcrafter Butter Poached Lobster Agnolotti, Preserved Sweet Corn and Winter Squash “Butter”, Charred Asparagus and Blood Orange Salad.
Main Course Backyard Farm Cherry Braised Cache Creek Beef, Foraged Morel Mushroom and Pecorino Risotto Cake, Roasted Festers Organics Heirloom Carrots with Braising Reduction.
Dessert 55% Michel Cluizel Chocolate Pate, Pecan Praline, Wolf Tree Coffee Meringue, Quince and Vanilla Bean Marmalade, Roasted White Chocolate.
• Brodo Kitchen, Penticton – Brodo (Italian for broth) has been delighting diners since 2013 featuring a variety of fantastic soups, sandwiches, salads and desserts adjusted seasonally. When the pandemic changed dining as we’d come to know it, Chef Paul Cecconi and his exceptionally talented team adapted quickly to be one of the first dine-in restaurants to adopt a takeout plan. As part of that same ingenuity, Brodo presents Date Night every Friday.
Intrigued by the February 19 menu, we enjoyed:
Salad of Baby Iceberg Lettuce, Warm Shitake Mushroom and Dried Cranberries, Blue Cheese and Dill Ranch Dressing, Pea Shoots and Maple Walnut Crumble.
Main Cheeseburger ‘Meat Pie’ with Aged Cheddar Pastry, Roast Garlic, Caramelized Onions, Oven-roasted Tomato and Bacon, Leek and Brie Fondue, Arugula with Lemon and Parmesan.
Dessert Molten Coffee and Chocolate Cake, Brandy-Apple Caramel, Vanilla Whip
DINE AROUND, DINE IN, TOO
Dine Around continues to March 7, 2021 where you can “Sip, Savour & Save” at many of our local restaurants. Check out https://dinearound.ca/