VICTORY GARDENS | On Basil, The Sweet & Sublimely Aromatic Summertime Essential

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by Lisa Giroday, Sandra Lopuch and Sam Philips | While holding back our typing fingers trying not to write another story about tomato season, we realized that we had completely forgot about another ingredient that is just as good: basil!

Basil, aka ocimum basilicum, should never be put on the back burner, ever. Who doesn’t love revelling in its sweet, aromatic goodness? We love mixing it in after-work drinks, making pesto with it, adding it to salads, and, of course, combining it with its best friend, the tomato. Panzanella salad, anyone? Gnocchi Pomodoro? Margherita pizza?

People often have issues with keeping basil plants alive, and that’s chiefly because people forget that basil requires full sun. Plant basil transplants in June, the same time you set out your tomato transplants. Because basil and tomatoes are companion plants, this works out well. Even better, at the same time you transplant basil, be sure to seed some, too. That way you’ll score a staggered basil harvest. You can seed basil outside as early as late May (if you want to start it indoors, you can start it as early as mid-April). And remember, if you don’t feel like running around naked outside at night, it’s not the time to transplant basil or tomatoes in your garden.

A little bit on harvesting right now: Pinch out the tips from the top down, and pinch down the stem right before you see two nodes of growth. By doing this, you will encourage the plant to grow bushier, and not “leggy”, thus producing more delicious basil leaves. And, if you see your basil flowering, which you are right now, harvesting in this way promotes more foliage. In the case of basil, the plant is not “spent” despite flowering.

Companion planting-wise, basil is a true hero. Its pest-repellant powers include warding off flies, mosquitoes, and thrips. Not only will it help out your tomatoes in a number of ways (including flavour enhancement), but it’s also a good companion to oregano, peppers, and asparagus.

We love good, classic Genovese basil, as well as the purple-leaved beauty called Red Rubin. If buying seeds for next season, you can also get a seed packet with a mix of a few types for good measure. Buon appetito in the meantime.

THE VICTORY GARDENS ARCHIVE

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS | “Market” On The Hunt For Experienced Restaurant Manager

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Market by Jean-Georges is located at 1128 West Georgia St. | 604-695-1115 | www.marketbyjgvancouver.com

The GOODS from Market by Jean-Georges

Vancouver, BC | We are currently searching for a Restaurant Manager with proven experience in running a profitable restaurant. Our ideal candidate can operationally ensure that high standards of service go well beyond the five-diamond service the restaurant and hotel provides. The manager has their finger on the pulse of the Vancouver culinary scene, and recommends and implements new concepts to ensure MARKET’s position in the marketplace. The manager inspires a passion for food, wine and service excellence, and consistently manages, motivates and mentors our team of consummate hospitality professionals. Learn more after the jump… Read more

GOODS | Happy Hour Arrives On Commercial Drive With New Specials At “La Mezcaleria”

La Mezcaleria is located at 1622 Commercial Drive in Vancouver, BC | 604-559-8226 | www.lamezcaleria.ca

La Mezcaleria is located at 1622 Commercial Drive in Vancouver, BC | 604-559-8226 | www.lamezcaleria.ca

The GOODS from La Mezcaleria

Vancouver, BC |­ La Mezcaleria on The Drive is embracing Happy Hour with new specials available Tuesday to Thursday from 5pm to 6:30pm. On Fridays and Saturdays, we’ll be hosting a late night Happy Hour from midnight to 1:30am. Local craft beer including Parallel 49 Lager, 33 Acres of “Ocean”, and Four Winds Saison will be served in little glasses, Mexican cantina-style (cañas – 8 ounce beers) for only $3. El Jimador Silver and Reposado shots will be available for $4, while LA Cetto Chenin blanc from Mexico and Bodega Munoz Garnacha from Spain will be available for $5 a glass. Lastly, for cocktails, we have Gin for Jaime, a Mexican style gin and tonic with fresh ginger and cucumber, and our freshly made, hand-squeezed classic margaritas served on the rocks for $8. There’s something for everyone with taste and time… Read more

STAFF MEAL | On Digging Into A Big Indian Pre-Shift Feast At Mount Pleasant’s “Acorn”

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by Ken Tsui | In the dog days of summer, chef/co-owner Brian Skinner and the kitchen team at Main Street vegetarian mainstay The Acorn are sweating it out as they prepare for another busy night. But before it all goes down, the staff are banding together and keeping to the spirit of making great vegetarian food by tapping into Indian traditions, the O.G. of vegetarian cuisines.

This afternoon’s meal is an elaborate one. It’s a long list scrawled on paper and simply labelled “Indian Staff Meal”. It’s an involved feast with plenty of components that tasks each staffer with making some of the classics, among them raita, papadums, khadi, palak paneer, grilled apricot chutney, mango lassis, pickled eggplant salad and pakoras of zucchini and cauliflower.

Brian leads the charge, guiding the crew based on lessons learned during his time in London. Today, the palak paneer (pureed spinach with crisped Indian cheese) is his responsibility. As the team puts the finishing touches on their respective contributions, the mixture of heat and movement looks and feels like controlled chaos, making it hard to keep track of all the fragrant and colourful plates coming out of the kitchen.

Meanwhile, co-owner Shira Blustein is holding court in the dining area. As the food comes out, the team gathers around her table to feast. Before long, Brian himself gets to lean into the spread. “I have a feeling I’m going to overeat…”

EAT MORE STAFF VANCOUVER MEALS

GOODS | “Blue Mountain” Has Released Its 2013 Vintages Of Gamay Noir And Pinot Gris

Blue Mountain is located at 2385 Allendale Rd. in Okanagan Falls, BC | 250-497-8244 | bluemountainwinery.com

Blue Mountain is located at 2385 Allendale Rd. in Okanagan Falls, BC | 250-497-8244 | bluemountainwinery.com

The GOODS from Blue Mountain

Okanagan Falls, BC | We are pleased to announce the release of our 2013 Gamay Noir and Pinot Gris. Bright fruit and complex flavours characterize the 2013 vintage. If you find yourself in the Okanagan Valley we welcome you to visit the winery to taste and pick up your 2013 vintage wines. The 2013 Gamay Noir ($22.90) displays good acidity and juicy raspberry flavours, with notes of black currant and a long, spicy finish. Its balanced structure will allow the wine to age for 4-6 years. The 2013 Pinot Gris ($20.90) has a citrus, mandarin, orange nose with rich dense orange and lemon flavours across the palate with notes of orange peel and spice on the finish. The structure of the wine will allow it to age beautifully for 4-6 years. Read more

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS | “L’Abattoir” In Gastown Is On The Hunt For A Host/Hostess

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L’Abattoir is located at 217 Carrall St in Vancouver’s Gastown neighbourhood | 604-568-1701 | www.labattoir.ca

The GOODS from L’Abattoir

Vancouver, BC | Gastown’s award-winning L’Abattoir restaurant is looking to hire a part-time host\hostess for 2 to 4 shifts a week. Duties include taking reservations, email communications and the effective management of guest needs. The successful candidate can expect a positive and professional working environment, a competitive wage and tips. Apply in confidence via email with resume attached to paul [at] labattoir.ca. Learn more about after the jump… Read more

GOODS | New “Juice Truck” On W. 5th Ave. Now Serving Summer Juice Cleanse Promo

A big pink (technically, it’s watermelon) truck on the corner of Abbott and Water Streets in Gastown (and sometimes Kits)

A big pink (technically, it’s watermelon) truck on the corner of Abbott and Water Streets in Gastown

The GOODS from The Juice Truck

Vancouver, BC | Patio cocktails, beach parties…you name it — during summer it’s easy to enjoy ourselves a little too much. It’s a good time for a full body reboot. Give your body the time to sigh and get back to square one with the Juice Cleanse by the Juice Truck. Until Sunday August 24th, they are offering a Summer Pick Up promo of 10% off all Juice Cleanses. Order any Juice Cleanse or Pick & Mix and get 10% off with pick up at their new storefront at 28 W 5th Avenue. Simply enter in the promo code ‘pickup’ during checkout. More info at www.thejuicecleanse.ca. Read more

GOODS | Famiglia Supper At “La Pentola” Set To Celebrate Tomatoes On August 31st

La Pentola is located in the Opus Hotel at 350 Davie St. in Vancouver, BC | (604) 642-0557 | www.lapentola.ca

La Pentola is located in the Opus Hotel at 350 Davie St. in Vancouver, BC | (604) 642-0557 | www.lapentola.ca

The GOODS from La Pentola

Vancouver, BC | On Sunday, August 31st, join La Pentola della Quercia at 6pm in paying homage to the tomato with the August Famiglia Supper Series, hosted by Chef Lucais Syme. Dine family-style at communal tables with your friends and neighbours as you experience all that the tomato has to offer. The tomato boasts a juicy history in Italy, with over 320 varieties worldwide. From sauces and stews to salads and roasts, what is known as the “Golden Apple” in Italy deserves recognition. La Pentola della Quercia will serve 10+ courses featuring caprese and panzanella salads, pastas with fresh tomato sauce, and free range meats. Tickets are $55 per person. We encourage you to reserve early as seating is limited. Call 604-642-0557 or email info@lapentola.ca to reserve. Learn more about the restaurant after the jump… Read more

MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE | Testing Tantalus Vineyards’ Experimental “Riesling Lab” 2013

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by Treve Ring | Here’s how wine geeks think: “Lessee what would happen if I took all my grape pressings leftover from the entire Riesling vintage and squeezed them together really hard to capture all the juice and good bits and then fermented it entirely with wild yeast…”

Tantalus Vineyards Riesling Lab 2013 | Kelowna, Okanagan Valley, BC | $19

Kiwi-Canadian wine geek and Tantalus winemaker David Paterson isn’t afraid to push – or in this case press – the envelope of experimentation. With Riesling Lab, the atypical results have proven so consistently interesting that the winery decided to slap labels on the bottles and sell them. The first Lab experiment (2011 vintage, #1) was tiny – just a handful of cases were produced. 2012’s Lab #2 was more of a purpose-driven exercise, with production bumped up to 70 cases or so. And last year, proven in method, Paterson produced 155 cases of Lab #3, sold solely out of their East Kelowna tasting room (also to a very few restaurants in Vancouver).

The playfully nerdy label is a clear departure from the norm (an indication that this ain’t your typical Tantalus wine), but the #03 Lab Results: Riesling is nevertheless a firm handshake. Pink and orange flowers, ripe peach and pear, apricot pit and a broad, solid, textured palate, amped up further through fermentation in old chardonnay-use barrels. Not shy on sugar, acidity or alcohol, the trio striking a chord that sounds like more, please. Especially at the price ($19!). Intrigued, I put the following 5 questions to Paterson…

Straight up – why did you make this wine? I originally created this wine in 2011, which was a cold growing season. I felt that the Riesling (Our biggest sku) would need some weight in a cold year and I did not want to use manufactured products to do so. I pressed all the Riesling really hard after making my original cut and took the resulting phenolic brown juice and fermented it wild in barrels. I did this to naturally oxidize out the phenolics. When it came time to put the 2011 wines together this new piece of the puzzle just didn’t fit but was really interesting and textural on its own…. so we bottled it. Since then we have made it every year and has been a really successful little wine in our tasting room with the general public and also with wine geeks because it has that different

Where are the grapes from? All the wines made under the Tantalus label come from our own 75 acre estate in SE Kelowna.

Your ideal pairing with this wines would be…? This wine is very versatile to pair with but I would say that something with sweetness and a little heat from the huge world of Asian food would go down pretty well. A classic Alsatian bacon and caramelized onion tart would be mighty fine, too.

What do you drink when you’re not drinking BC wine? When I’m not making wine, I’m golfing in the summer and skiing in the winter, so I’m drinking German and Burgundian wines.

Favourite BC wine, other than yours? Blue Mountain stripe label Pinot Noir or any of their vintage bubbly wines. They are always consistently excellent from vintage to vintage and their pricing has remained low compared to the demand for their product. They are the benchmark that the rest of the Okanagan should look too when deciding pricing and quality parameters.

THE DRINKER’S ARCHIVE

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS | Blue Water Cafe On Lookout For Chef De Partie & Sous Chef

Blue Water Cafe is located at 1095 Hamilton Street in Vancouver, BC | 604-688-8078 | www.bluewatercafe.net

Blue Water Cafe is located at 1095 Hamilton Street in Vancouver, BC | 604-688-8078 | www.bluewatercafe.net

The GOODS from Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar

Vancouver, BC | We are looking for experienced individuals to join our team as Junior Sous Chef and Chef de Partie at Blue Water Cafe. The ideal candidate will have the opportunity to learn from an experienced kitchen team and work with exceptional seasonal products. The ideal candidate is team-oriented, motivated and energetic. He or she is a team player who works well under pressure in a dymamic and fast paced environment. Canadian citizenship, permanent resident status, CIS or valid work permit is a must.

Blue Water Cafe is Vancouver’s definitive destination for seafood, widely known for its excellence in celebrating the extraordinary flavours of B.C. Consistently awarded “Best Seafood Restaurant” in Vancouver and recognized for its unparalleled service, an evening at Blue Water Cafe is truly an unforgettable experience. Read more

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS | “Pourhouse” On The Hunt For Full-Time Assistant Manager

Pourhouse is located at 162 Water Street in Vancouver, BC | 604-568-7022 | www.pourhousevancouver.com

The GOODS from Pourhouse

Vancouver, BC | Pourhouse is looking for a full-time Assistant Manager. Previous Management experience is an asset, and a passion for food, cocktails and great customer service is mandatory. Evening and weekend availability is a must. Position offers salary and benefits. Please send resumes to info [at] pourhousevancouver.com. Learn more after the jump… Read more

HEADS UP | Last Chance To Try The ‘Nectar Juicery’ Pop-Up In Holt Renfrew’s Skybridge

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by Luis Valdizon | There’s only one day left to discover Lara Kozan and Tori Holmes’ Nectar Juicery pop-up inside the Holt Renfrew skybridge. Their juices are made from 100% organic fruits and vegetables, and sell for $10 a bottle. Take a look…

Ends August 16 | Holt Renfrew Skybridge at Pacific Centre (737 Dunsmuir) | nectarjuicery.com

EXPLORE THE NEIGHBOURHOOD

AWESOME THING WE ATE #920 | The Big Rangeland Game Burger At Robson’s Forage

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The “Rangeland Game Burger” ($16) at Robson’s Forage comes layered with caramelized onion preserve, gooey gouda, and house-cured bacon on a spongy, responsive poppyseed bun. The patty –  a mix of bison, elk, and venison - is thick, dense, juicy, and so flavourful that it’s pronounced above the onion’s sweetness and the mustard’s pungency.

Unfortunately, it’s too late for it to be included in the “Best Burger in Vancouver” poll that we recently posted, but it deserves to be counted among the better ones. Good fries, too!

Forage | 1300 Robson Street | Vancouver, BC | 604.661.1400 | foragevancouver.com

MORE AWESOME THINGS WE ATE

GOODS | “CedarCreek Estate Winery” Releases New Vintage Of Platinum Viognier

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CedarCreek Estate Winery is located at 5445 Lakeshore Road in Kelowna, BC | 250-764-8866 | cedarcreek.bc.ca

The GOODS from CedarCreek Estate Winery

Kelowna, BC | CedarCreek Estate Winery is pleased to announce the release of the 2013 Platinum Viognier. Some of the 2013 Platinum Viognier was fermented and aged in a 660 litre concrete fermenter they call “The Egg.” Because concrete is porous, it acts like oak and allows the wine to breathe, which concentrates the flavours beautifully. Concrete is neutral and so imparts no flavour of its own, allowing the character of the fruit to shine. The result? 765 cases of honeysuckle and apricot-rich Viognier. Without “The Egg”, the Viognier wouldn’t be Platinum… Read more

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