Vernon’s Voluptuous Victuals: Diverse Culinary Scene Tantalizes
By Roslyne Buchanan.
Once the unrefined country cousin of Okanagan hot spots and noted more for its cadet camps and retirement homes, Vernon has quietly come of age. Ironically, in Vernon’s case the coming of age translates to the arrival of young families and a diverse and youthful population.
Evidence is found uphill in the SilverStar Mountain Resort which used to fade to black as the ski season ended and now takes only a breather before hiking and the Bike Park shifts into gear. More evidence is found on the Okanagan Rail Trail and other established hiking and biking trails such as those at Ellison Provincial Park and Predator Ridge Resort Community.
Find proof on the beaches of Kalamalka, Okanagan and Swan Lakes plus the water sports skimming those waters. Check out the skating rinks, arenas, soccer fields, soccer domes, running tracks and parks. There’s golf like Spallumcheen Golf & Country Club, The Rise, Predator Ridge, Hillview Golf Course, and the Vernon Golf & Country Club.
Then there’s the arts, culture and heritage scene plus science and nature centres and Okanagan College.
Verification is most profound in the culinary scene where tantalizing tastes tempt your palate with victuals originating internationally and locally. Let’s dig into a few examples.
Intermezzo Restaurant and Wine Cellar
While its trademark has been Italian Continental, the menu has expanded to Mediterranean and European fare. In the heart of Downtown Vernon, it offers elegant dining for that special evening out.
Bamboo Beach Fusion Grille
A blend of East and West, the traditional Japanese chef captures flavours from around the world in surprising combinations.
Naked Pig Kitchen
Specializing in low and slow, artisan smoked cooking as well as vegetarian dishes such as cauliflower wings, Naked Pig Kitchen provides the food service for Marten Brewing Co. This collaboration allows the brewery to focus on its craft beers and its new non-alcoholic Kombucha and Nitro Coffee line Underground Beverages.
Ratio Coffee & Pastry
A fine coffee shop and bakery, Ratio highlights different delicacies each day of the week, however, it’s on Fridays you’ll find long lines of local and tourists for the fresh, hand-made donuts. Arrive early or risk missing out on the day’s special.
Hot Bread Shoppe
The intoxicating aromas of fresh baking greets you in this small artisan bakery and gift shop. Small batches are made from scratch every morning with organic ingredients. Fair warning that your decision what to select will be a tough one.
Olive Us Oil and Vinegar Tasting Room
Sample and buy an array of oils, vinegars, salts and spices in this delicious specialty store.
A family confectionary outlet offering small batch kettle roasted almonds, bean-to-bar chocolates from companies such as Choklat, Choco-Sol and Wild Sweets, plus organic candies made by Tout de Sweet.
Locally owned specialty tea shop with over 130 types of loose-leaf teas, specializing in Persian teas which are blended in-house. Have a cup there or take products to go. The variety of teaware ranging from locally handmade pieces, cast iron teapots, mugs and more will also tempt you.
Do a walkabout of Downtown Vernon to discover all its treasures for yourself. For picnics and party platters, consider platters from Gumtree Catering that showcase local artisans.
Fan Out for More Tasting Sensations
Another favourite is EATology which opened in 2015 to offer a creative palette of breakfast and lunch and has since expanded throughout the former Greyhound Bus space. There’s Midtown Bistro with rotating seasonal specials.
Drive to Predator Ridge to find the Range Lounge & Grill where it is upscale casual for breakfast, lunch and dinner with food that is globally inspired using locally and responsibly sourced ingredients. For an Italian twist at Predator there’s Pallino’s Italian Bistro.
Tour the Lake Country wineries and find amazing wine country cuisine. Two premier examples: O’Rourke’s Peak Cellars, where Chef Alex Lavroff will dazzle you at The Garden Bistro showcasing local flavours – the ultimate farm to table experience paired with great wines. Up the road is 50th Parallel Estates Winery with award-winning wines and the brilliant cuisine of Chef Kai Koroll in the BLOCK ONE Restaurant.
Featured photo: Platters from Gumtree Catering highlight local artisans. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.