LAST DASH FOR DINE AROUND OKANAGAN
By Roslyne Buchanan.
As DINE AROUND OKANAGAN 2020 draws to a close February 2, you can still dash to take advantage of the bargain menus. A collaboration of the British Columbia Restaurant and Foodservices Association (BCRFA) and sponsored by the Wines of British Columbia and Tourism Kelowna, it’s a great way to support local restaurants while enjoying specials.
If you’re like me and have a long list of restaurants for which you’d enjoy a return visit or want to try for the first time, it’s a lovely incentive to venture out in the winter months. You can’t hit them all so divide and conquer to hear from friends about some of the menus. Take Chaos Bistro at Ex Nihilo Vineyards, for example, where my friend and colleague Allison Markin enjoyed Executive Chef Eric Steele’s three-course dinner ($45 per person).
First course choices are hazelnut bisque roasted celeriac and parsnip with hazelnut crumble; wild rocket & fennel salad with cured persimmons and preserved lemon ricotta; artisan chicken liver & foie gras parfit, duck fat fried toast, pickled red grapes and estate icewine gelee.
Second course a choice of ocho winter vegetable plate, fava bean, saffron infused potato and soft poached egg; pan seared arctic char fillet, baby spinach charmoula and beetroot risotto; or Alberta ranch-land elk Osso Bucco, braised chicory and sweet potato puree.
Dessert was dark chocolate fondant, caramel air and almond tulie. Of course, suggestions were made for beautiful wine pairings to accompany the elegant meal.
the bear, the fish, the root, the berry at Spirit Ridge Resort
Since Executive Chef Murray McDonald arrived at Spirit Ridge Resort in Osoyoos and its restaurant rebranded, the bear, the fish, the root, the berry, I’ve been dying to check it out. He comes with broad International culinary experience, most recently as Executive Chef, Ritz Carlton Toronto. However, it’s the acclaim he and the restaurant received in his role as the founding Executive Chef, Fogo Island Inn that really gets me excited. Add such roles as Executive Chef, Cluny Bistro and Boulangerie, Toronto; Executive Sous Chef, Fairmont Pacific Rim; Chef de Cuisine, Ritz-Carlton Cancun; and Sous Chef, Huka Lodge (Relais & Chateau) New Zealand and this Culinary Institute of Canada (Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island) graduate is definitely on my radar. He is complemented by Sous Chef Christopher Grimley, who also was at Fogo Island Inn. Chef Grimley, a Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (Edmonton) graduate, joined the team from his role as Executive Chef, Quilchena Hotel.
Spirit Ridge Resort Executive Director and General Manager Daniel Bibby says, “Rich in culture and historical relevance, the iconic resort’s design embraces the Okanagan First Nations people and celebrates their deep spiritual connection to natural surroundings.”
In keeping with this philosophy, the restaurant was rebranded to honour the region’s Indigenous history. The name honours the four Chiefs were: Skimxist (Bear), Ntytikxw (Salmon), Speetlum (Bitterroot) and Seeya (Saskatoon). For more on the story, see https://www.bearfishrootberry.com/our-story/
When friends decided to make a girls’ DINE AROUND OKANAGAN lunch day trip there, I jumped at the opportunity. The toughest decision would be what items to select from the $25 three-course lunch menu. Starters were GREENS N’ THINGS, lettuce, crudo vegetable, honey mint dressing, lingonberry, pickle and toasted seeds; or THREE SISTERS TURKEY SOUP, braised corn, beans, squash simmered in a smoked turkey broth with wild rice.
Mains were ARCTIC CHAR, corn & bean succotash, charred lemon, berry wojape, wilted greens and sunflower seed pesto; STEAK FRITES, AAA flat iron steak, home fries, aioli, pan jus with mixed salad; or PINE COUNTRY FRIED CHICKEN, warm potato salad, sumac, greens and mostarda.
Dessert a choice of BERRIES ON A CLOUD, sea buckthorn, seasonal berries and berry compote ; OR CH-CH-CH-CH-CH-CH-CHERRY BOMB, trio of sorbet with sour cherry consommé.
Oh, and if one or more guests decide to opt for the regular menu that’s okay, too. One friend ordered just the salad and another BANNOCK 7 SPREADS, which included white bean sumac spread, roasted hot pepper corn succotash, beetroot relish and garlic fried tomatoes.
Once again, beautiful wine pairings were suggested. Limiting myself to one glass, and knowing I was ordering the steak, I went with one of my favourites – Nk’Mip Vineyards Talon. Nine of us attended and nine of us were pleased with every course.
I’m counting the days until I return. While I won’t get back in time for another episode of DINE AROUND OKANAGAN 2020, clearly the restaurants that participate are here to offer delicious opportunities. Don’t let winter lock you indoors, get out and enjoy some activities and cap that off with a lovely meal.
Featured photo: DINE AROUND OKANAGAN 2020 Girls’ lunch at the bear, the fish, the root, the berry. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.