Friday, January 27, 2012

Expansion of Urban Farmers in Victoria

In an email from Gave Epstein of the Gorge Tillicum Urban Farmers, I have found there are some other organizations like this in the region.

  • HUFFS - Hillside Urban Farmers For Sustainability - I can not find any links for them but they will be at Seedy Saturday, as will the other groups as well.
  • JUF - Jubilee Urban Farmers
  • VWUF - Vic West Urban Farmers - I can not find any links to them either

Urban farming is very much the flavour of the month, it concerns me how much it can be tied up with political agendas.   For it to to work well it has embrace the growing of food and not the politics and economics of agriculture.  

As those of you that read this blog know, I do try to grow some of my own food.   Most people with single family homes have the space that they could be growing some of their own food.   I think it is important for most people to feel some personal connection to their food and nothing is more personal than growing it.   It is the linking of this to an anti-capitalist or anti-globalist agenda that will cause the movement to falter.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The 10 Types of Foodies

Anna Brones wrote an interesting post at the Huff Post Canada call "The 10 Types of Foodies".

The types:

  1. Made it myself - Martha Stewart cooking
  2. The Organivore - all local, all organic
  3. The Europhile - all good thing come from Europe
  4. The One Upper
  5. The Snob - complains that everything is not good enough
  6. The Anti-Snob - rebels against the rest of the foodies
  7. The Avoider - avoids something or all of things like meat, dairy, wheat, corn, soy etc
  8. The Blogging Food Pornographer - I wish I could this, but it is not my style or ability
  9. The Bacon Lover - all bacon, all the time, and this is not Kevin Bacon
  10. The DIYer - if you read this blog, you know this is me.   
My ex-wife alerted me to the posting and pointed out how I am the definition of the DIYer.

Senegalese Food In Victoria!

One of my complaints about Victoria is the very narrow set of food options we have available.  It is getting better as time goes by but we are still limited.   We may have Iraqi, Saudi and Afghani food, but we have no Russian, Brazilian or Malaysian food.

When it comes to African food we have only had three options to chose from, Ethiopian food, Zanzibarian food, or Morrocan food.   All three are heavily influenced by the Arabic world and are closer to various Middle Eastern cuisines than sub-Saharan food.

We have nothing from most of the continent  - no west African cuisine, no central African cuisine, and the closest thing we have to South African cuisine are the specialty goods you can buy at Aubergine Specialty Foods in Fernwood.

We now have Le Petit Dakar in one of the storefronts of the Old Crystal Pool building on Douglas.   They offer Senegalese food.

I ran across it yesterday on my way from the Legislature to catch the bus back home.   I had never noticed that they existed.   The woman inside told me they have been open for four months now.

I had already had lunch and I was in a rush to get to my bus, so I had no time to stop for a meal.   From what I could smell and see, the food looked very good.   I had a chance to eat a lot of French west African cuisine in 1986 when I traveled to Togo, Niger and Burkina Faso.   From what I could see, the food looked like what I had seen in Africa.  

I did not have time to stop for a meal, but they were nice enough to offer me a free madeline.  

The menu includes stews and ragouts as I would expect with a focus on the fish, meats, beans and vegetables I would also expect.   Many of the meals are served on a bed of rice.   When I traveled in west Africa I had a lot of the street food and it was all a bowl of rice with some sort of spicy savory stew on top.  I really want to try the Mafe, Domoda, and Yassa au Poulet.   I wonder how it will compare to my memory of sitting on a plank bench on the side of red dirt street in a place like Ouagadougou?   One of the best meals I ever had my life was in small courtyard restaurant in the southeast part of the Niamey - it was a Yassa au Poulet that blew my mind.

I am going to try and go there ASAP.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Salmon, cannelini beans, and squash - what do I make?

I thought I would make use of some of the food I have preserved and chose three ingredients to make dinner with for tonight.   I grabbed salmon and squash that I canned myself and have just finished putting some cannelini beans through the pressure cooker.   So what do I make with this?

Thoughts that come to mind:

  • A salmon/squash ravioli
  • Some sort of casserole
  • A bean salad

None of the ideas are inspiring me a the moment.   I am interested in hearing what people think might be interesting

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Learning more about processing raw chocolate

So it seems that it is more or less impossible for me to be able to grind the nibs fine enough to make chocolate at home.   I may try one more time when I get some more beans from the Mexican House of Spice and see how fine I can grind them.

I looking around the web, it seems that I would need a champion juicer to have any chance of grinding the nibs fine enough.

I found some suggestions on what can be done with raw or roasted chocolate nibs, though none of them on this page appeal to me.

The difficulty of grinding the nibs also explains to me why some small scale artisan chocolate makers end up with a slightly chalky product.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Some Restaurants I would like to go to in 2012

Three in Vancouver
L'Abattoir at 217 Carrall Street in Gastown.
Hawksworth at 801 W Georgia St
ensemble Tap at 990 Smithe Street

Five in Greater Victoria
Sooke Harbour House
AURA - 680 Montreal Street
Devour - 762 Broughton Street
Copper Rock Grill - Bear Mountain
Dunlop House - Camosun College Landsdowne

Two in Seattle
Agua Verde Cafe - 1303 NE Boat Street
Rovers - 2808 E Madison

One in Portland
The Beast

Monday, January 2, 2012

Denny's, what was I expecting?

Yes it is Denny's and I should not have expected that much, but Denny's is not far from my home and is open on New Year's Day, I have gone a couple of times on January 1st.

The coffee is worse than awful, I have not had something that bad that I can remember.   It was burned and it was old.   I had to make a Tim Horton's coffee to get it down.    I can not over emphasis how bad the coffee was.

My meal was decent enough, I had the Southwestern Steak Burrito with hash browns.   I have had worse and I did eat it, certainly it was better than the awful omelet I had at Shine the week before.    It was also big, more than twice the size of what I wanted.  I also thought I would order something that was lighter than the Slams, turns out this is not true at all.   Online you can read the nutrition facts about their meals.  Mine came in at 1120 calories with 63 grams of fat!   I can not freaking believe the amount of calories or the amount of fat.

Daniel had the Lumberjack Slam - this comes on THREE plates.   Who the fuck needs three plates for their breakfast?  His meal came in at 1440 calories and 75 grams of fat!  This is utterly insane and is enough to feed three people for breakfast, even then the fat content is high.  Daniel did not finish all of it.

Sheila built her own slam and it came in at only 510 calories and 27 grams of fat.   She had the turkey bacon, which you would think would be fewer calories and leaner than regular bacon, wrong.   The turkey bacon is 90 calories (+20), 5 grams of fat (+-0) and 360 mg of sodium (+130) - the bracketed numbers are how much higher the turkey bacon was than the regular bacon.   The turkey bacon also sucked, it was awful.   Sheila did not eat all of her food because there was too much, but also because it was not appetizing.

Max's meal was the pancakes with the chocolate chips, he is three, so it is hard to judge if he liked it or not.   His meal came in at 450 calories and 18 grams of fat.   Those are more than enough calories for an adult breakfast and the fat is too high for anyone.

The high calories and fat would almost be ok if the food was stellar, but it is much worse than what I make at home.  

I am not going to go back, ever.

Denny's on Urbanspoon

Shine Cafe in the Stadacona Centre

January 19th 2012 See the bottom of the post for new information
I have been to Shine a few times and it has never really wowed me.   Recently Sheila and I went and we were completely underwhelmed.   We were hungry but we did not finish our food.

Sheila's main problem was that her potatoes were cold and clearly had been out of the oven for awhile - they looked shriveled up in that way that comes from sitting out for some length of time.

In my case the problem was the omelet.   I expect an omelet to be light and fluffy with a small amount of fillings that accentuate the flavour of the eggs.   This is not what I got.

I got something that was closer to a fritata than omelet.  I was also cooked in a pan that was just as wide as the eggs, actually not wide enough as it is the reason the omelet was thick, there was no space for the egg to flow.   An omelet pan should allow at least an inch between the egg and the sides.

The filling was cooked separately and then added to the "omelet" in such a way as if it was supposed to be a wrap.   There were too much filling and it was greasy.   No omelet should every be greasy.

Even if their definition of an omelet was something unique, the concept it a bad one and the execution of this meal was badly done.   I was hungry but I could not finish this "omelet".

Finally, the coffee, not the worst I have had, but forgettable is really the only term that covers it.   If you are doing a breakfast place in the Pacific Northwest, stellar coffee has to be your starting point.

Can I do better than this at home?   Yes, everyday and every time.   Worst of all I even had to wait to be seated to eat this crap.  I highly doubt that we will ever go back.

January 19th 2012

The owner Barry Thompson has contacted me and offered to have me come in and try the restaurant again, I am going to take him up on it.  

I hope it is better than before.   If that experience is better I will erase this post and replace it with a new one.

For the moment it is on hold

Shine Cafe on Urbanspoon

Moto Chefs Homaro Cantu and Ben Roche give a TED talk

I find molecular gastronomy vastly interesting and wish I had the time to really play around with these sort of things myself.  

Moto is a restaurant in Chicago focused on playing with concepts of food.   The executive chef is Homaro Cantu and has some very interesting ideas.   Ben Roche seems to be inspired by a cruel streak of giving his staff very hard challenges, though is listed as the executive pastry chef

Speaking of the team, two chefs working for Moto are on Top Chef season 9, Richie Farina and Chris Jones.

Watch this and enjoy.

I dream of having someone with this sort of vision open a restaurant here in the Pacific Northwest.