Posts in Food and Drink

My Wife’s Notes: 2008 Sandhill Syrah – Tomato Basil Bisque

Click here for recipe
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • handful fresh basil
  • 4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 heaping tsp pesto
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 loaf sourdough
  • 1 cup parmesan reggiano
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mix butter an olive oil in a pot on medium-low heat until butter has melted. Saute onions and garlic together until soft, ensuring that you do not burn the mixture. Add 3 cups of chick broth, tomatoes, tomato paste and most of the basil, and simmer for 20 minutes.

In a small saucepan, pour the pine nuts into heat on medium-high stirring constantly. Once the pine nuts begin to brown, pour them into a small cup and set aside. In that same saucepan, make a roux with the last cup of chicken broth and flour. Slowly add this to the simmering soup, allowing it to thicken. Take the thickened soup and blend in a blender on high until smooth. Pour back into the pot, add pesto and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.

For the crostini, slice the bread and rub one side of each piece with garlic. Top each piece with a little bit of shredded cheese and toast on a cookie sheet under the broiler until crispy.

Ladle soup into bowls topping with toasted pine nuts, shredded cheese and a whole leaf basil, and serve with several crostini.

My wife Alana is crazy about Christmas. Absolutely loves it. And when it comes to decorating the house for Christmas, she makes it a major event.

I dug the boxes out of the storage room, and got to work putting up the tree while Alana surveyed the house, deciding where the garland and lights should go, what color palette should be used, and what additional decorations need to be picked up this year. She & Him crooned reworked Christmas classics at us as the tree was festooned in red and white and green and silver.

We needed a comfort dinner, warm and easy to make, so I went with one of our favourites: Tomato Basil Bisque. I like to add a spoonful of pesto to the soup when cooking, top it with toasted pine nuts, whole leaf basil and shredded Parmesan Reggiano, and serve with toasted garlic sourdough crostini.

Tomato Basil Bisque

There’s a lot of flavour and richness in this meal, and needed a wine that could stand up to it all. I suspected a 2008 Sandhill Syrah was up to the task.

My Notes:

This wine has all kinds of fruit on the nose, rich and full…almost like a sweet blackberry jam. The first sip is very smooth and dry, the fruit and jam continuing to flourish, with black currant coming in at the back, with a moderate peppery finish. When paired with the rich garlicky soup, the wine brightens up a LOT. The pepper is still there on the back end, but the fruit and jam has almost completely disappeared. As the remnants of the soup gradually leave the palette, the complexity of the wine returns. 89 points.

My Wife’s Notes:

“Mmm, it’s peppery. And I frickin’ love pine nuts, do we have any more?”

2008 Sandhill Syrah – $21.99 at BC Liquor Stores.

Christmas Decorating Joy at Hot Holiday Homes

Last night (Friday) I toured Ballet Kelowna’s fundraiser, Hot Holiday Homes.  If you love home design, interior design or Christmas decorating this is a do NOT miss event.  So much fun and so very well done.  The tour is of beautiful private homes in Kelowna. Here are six homes this year and you have five hours to complete your self guided tour (it took my group a little bit more than three hours).

There is only one more night this year and that is tonight, Saturday November 12 from 4 pm to 9 pm so pick up your tickets at one of the following: Art Knapp, Bylands, LBV Design Dress Décor, olive & elle, Picture Perfect, Rick’s Garden World. All funds raised go to Ballet Kelowna.

Lindon House B&B The Gorgeous Last Stop at Hot Holiday Homes

There are plenty of tastings along the tour including wine from Quail’s Gate, bubbly from Summerhill and tasty spirits from Kelowna’s new boutique distellery, Urban Distilleries.

Mike Urban of Kelowna's Urban Distilleries was Handing out Delicious Tastings

Many local businesses, large and small sponsor Hot Holiday Homes including Re/Max Kelowna, Shannon Holand Photography, and FortisBC, who provided 290 strings of LED lights- that is more than 20,000 bulbs!  There are professionaly decorated Christmas trees in each home that will be on display at Kelowna Community Theatre until they are sold by auction.

Garlands of Light at Hot Holiday Homes

The Beauty of Food When You Grow it Yourself!

Harvest from the garden


There are few places in Kelowna that I’ve managed to find Screamers available. Let alone any place with such a colourful piece of artwork outside the building. Luckily, I found just such a location basically around the corner from my house. For those oblivious of this delicious cult, a Screamer is a combination of any flavour of slush mixed with a soft server ice cream. And they’re incredible.

Literally a three minute walk from where I sleep, it offers 24 flavours of soft serve and quite a few slush flavours to boot! I’ve heard rumours of the Canadian Tire serving them (I haven’t seen this in action) and I think I drove past a place in West Kelowna that makes Screamers too. PLEASE let us know of any other area’s these are available, share the love!

Blue Sky Afternoon

The weather’s hot and the drinks are strong.


Waterfront Mexican Resto Gets New Flare

It was great to stop by DJ’s Downtown Cantina, located at 1346 Water St. at the Grand Delta, last night for their Grand Re-Opening. I made some new friends, had a quick bite, sampled some drinks and had a chance to speak with new-owner Lucia about her recent purchase of the Mexican Cantina.

No stranger to the atmosphere, Lucia worked at DJ’s in its infancy, during the first three years of being open. While she took some time away to experience other aspects of the food & beverage industry, including consulting and acting as General Manager at the Bonfire Restaurant at the Cove, it seems the call to DJ’s must have been unavoidable.

A perfect location, more-or-less on the lake; a late afternoon or Okanagan sunset seems to be the perfect way to experience this Mexican cuisine. Ready to pour heart, soul and over 50 different types of Tequila (that’s the reduced list, by the way), Lucia is looking forward to making subtle changes to the resto over time in order to introduce new locals & tourists alike to their specific brand of Mexican flare.

“We have two great patios and we’re in a great location near the water… …it seems to go hand-in-hand,” she explains, almost the practiced mantra of any Okanaganite at this point. Patios, not just one but two, both with gorgeous views. About the decor she adds, “People may not know that everything that’s inside of DJ’s originally came straight from Mexico in two containers,” adding spicy authenticity to the venue.

As true lovers of live music we’re looking forward to the musical trio, Cuban Fire, they’ll be hosting through the end of September for their Margarita Monday’s. And after a ‘long week’ who doesn’t want a margarita on a Monday? Thanks to Lucia and Chef Phil for graciously hosting us at their party, we can’t wait to go back!

In the meantime, here’s a sample of Cuban Fire

Old Train Station Public House

Pyper and Brandon visit the Old Train Station Public House on Wednesday July 13th, the day of it’s Grand Opening and speak to co-owner Dan Allen about this historic site. And also, savour some beverages.

Music by Kingdom Cloud, their song “Rainbow Road”

The Potluck Dinner as Art

Gabriel Newman sharing potluck supper. Photo Credit Kate Mahaits Photography

Gabriel Newman, a Masters of Fine Arts degree student at UBCO is hosting a series of community potlucks as his Master’s degree thesis.  Newman is a resident of Vernon and his next potluck will be July 16th in the Kelowna neighborhood of Glenmore. Stories, food and getting to know your community are all part of the plan for the evening. It is a free event, but you must RSVP and bring a potluck dish to share.

“We are empathetic creatures and we build community through storytelling, whether it is at the table or on stage. Glenmore has a vibrant culture, we just need to stop every once in a while and listen to it,” says Newman.

Visit Newman’s blog to see a video of a previous potluck show.  You can call Newman at (250) 260-8757 to RSVP.  Seating is free, but limited to 50 people so call early and get cooking.  The event is July 16 at 6 pm at St. David’s Presbyterian Church.