LAST DASH FOR DINE AROUND OKANAGAN

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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.

DINE AROUND OKANAGAN Chaos Bistro artisan chicken liver & foie gras parfit, duck fat fried toast, pickled red grapes and estate icewine gelee. Photo credit: Allison Markin.

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.

Chaos Bistro, Ex Nihilo Vineyards ‘pan seared arctic char fillet, baby spinach charmoula and beetroot risotto. Photo credit: Allison Markin.

Dessert was dark chocolate fondant, caramel air and almond tulie. Of course, suggestions were made for beautiful wine pairings to accompany the elegant meal.

Dessert at Chaos Bistro of dark chocolate fondant, caramel air and almond tulie. Photo credit: Allison Markin.

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.

Entry of the bear, the fish, the root, the berry at Spirit Ridge Resort, Osoyoos. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.

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.”

Executive Chef Murray McDonald, the bear, the fish, the root, the berry checks in on lunch. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.

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/

the bear, the fish, the root, the berry GREENS N’ THINGS, lettuce, crudo vegetable, honey mint dressing, lingonberry, pickle and toasted seeds. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.

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.

the bear, the fish, the root, the berry THREE SISTERS TURKEY SOUP, braised corn, beans, squash simmered in a smoked turkey broth with wild rice. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.

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.

PINE COUNTRY FRIED CHICKEN, warm potato salad, sumac, greens and mostarda at the bear, the fish, the root, the berry. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.

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.

BANNOCK 7 SPREADS, white bean sumac spread, roasted hot pepper corn succotash, beetroot relish and garlic fried tomatoes was on the bear, the fish, the root, the berry regular menu. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.

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.

STEAK FRITES, AAA flat iron steak, home fries, aioli, pan jus with mixed salad at the bear, the fish, the root, the berry. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.

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.

the bear, the fish, the root, the berry BERRIES ON A CLOUD, sea buckthorn, seasonal berries and berry compote. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.

Featured photo: DINE AROUND OKANAGAN 2020 Girls’ lunch at the bear, the fish, the root, the berry. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.

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Roslyne Buchanan (aka Roz) Roslyne Buchanan is a regular freelance contributor to food, travel, wine, home and lifestyle magazines. Her work has appeared in Food & Wine Trails, WestJet Magazine, OpenRoad Driver, Savour, Niche, Destinations Travel Magazine, My Van City, and blog.hellobc.com. Based above BC’s Naramata Bench in Penticton, she enjoys spectacular views of forests, vineyards, lakes, and hills beyond and regular visits from wildlife. Enchanted by the food and beverage industry and all things culinary as well as recreational pursuits such as travel, golfing, skiing, hiking, tennis and snorkeling. For her it’s the perfect balance to pursue her passion for writing with integrity and joy to share firsthand experiences. Most of her adventures are shared with her husband, Mark and when they’re not out exploring, they are managed by two felines Baja and Floyd. Find her personal blog at www.rozsmallfry.com, follow her on twitter @RozDB and Instagram @roslynebuchanan

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