From Vernon in the north to Osoyoos in the south, we love exploring the Okanagan. It has everything that we love and enjoy in life, chief among them being great food, breathtaking (and accessible) landscapes, and a variety of local crafted alcoholic beverages.
In the Okanagan at the moment (our HOOD palettes are ever-changing), we’re seeing the blue sky, sandstone, and green grass of Mission Hill; rural community mailbox green; four shades of peach; the sand at Naramata’s 3 Mile Beach (clothing optional); Painted Rock “Red Icon” 2011; the crushpad at Orofino; Haywire “Pink Bub” 2012; “K” Cafe signage tri-colour; Miradoro exterior; Road 13 proprietor Mick Luckhurst’s most excellent moustache; the tractor at Meyer Family Vineyards; sunny day view of Skaha Lake from God’s Mountain; and the green branding of Joiefarm.
DAY DRUNKS FLOATING THE PENTICTON CHANNEL
A WHOLE LOT OF ALBERTANS LIVING IN LARGE HOUSES
FOSSIL HUNTING ON THE ROAD TO THE DOMINION RADIO ASTROPHYSICAL OBSERVATORY
GOOD PERUSING AMONG THE STACKS AT THE BOOKSHOP IN PENTICTON
A LOT OF BEAUTIFULLY RESTORED AMERICAN CLASSIC CARS
AFTERNOON PICNICS AT COVERT FARMS
THE BIGGEST CULINARY COMPETITION IN CANADA
GOOD SNOW AND PERMANENT 90′S TIME WARP AT BIG WHITE
BEACH-FRONT CAMPING AT STUNNING HAYNES POINT
VINTAGE ADIDAS GAZELLE SNEAKERS HANGING FROM ROWING SHELLS AT THE EL DORADO
GOOD DOWNHILL TUMBLING ON THE GROUNDS AT MISSION HILL FAMILY ESTATE
THE PRIVATE BEACH AT WALNUT BEACH RESORT
AMERICAN WHITE PELICANS ON OSOYOOS LAKE
TOURING AND TASTING CANNERY BREWING & TREE BREWING
THE WEIRD SALT CIRCLES OF SPOTTED LAKE
GO KART RACING AT THE PENTICTON SPEEDWAY
PEACH MILKSHAKES AT THE “K” CAFE IN KEREMEOS
SUPERFOOD SALAD AT SUNSET ORGANIC BISTRO
WINES FROM 120 DIFFERENT WINERIES
CHICKEN CONFIT POUTINE AT RAUDZ REGIONAL TABLE
BRATWURST AT THE PENTICTON FARMER’S MARKET
BRIOCHE FRENCH TOAST BRUNCH AT QUAILS’ GATE’S OLD VINES
THE FRIED SQUID AT THEO’S
SMOKED BACON AT DOLCI
GRILLED THREE CHEESE SANDWICHES AT BRODO
LATE SUMMER SUPPERS ON THE TERRACE AT MISSION HILL
FRESH OYSTERS AND MIGNONETTE AT WATERFRONT WINES
EATING DIVERSE BBQ AT THE SIMILKAMEEN BBQ KING COMPETITION
TIGER BLUE CHEESE AT POPLAR GROVE
JOY ROAD SUPPERS ON THE CLIFF AT GOD’S MOUNTAIN
ANYTHING BY CHEF JEFF VAN GEEST AT MIRADORO
- The Nk’mip Desert is technically not a desert, but rather a shrub-steppe.
- Calona Wines, founded in 1932, is the oldest continuously operating winery in BC.
- Chef Dana Ewart of Joy Road Catering always wears two different coloured socks.
- Only three nest sites of the endangered Burrowing Owl have been discovered since 1928. They now only exist at “reintroduction sites” near Kamloops and Haynes Lease.
- The masks on Tantalus Vineyards’ wine labels are by Tahltan-Tlingit carver Dempsey Bob.
- The Kettle Valley railway was launched in 1915 but was abandoned in 1989.
- Michael Dinn and Heidi Noble, owners of Naramata’s celebrated Joiefarm winery, are both veterans of Vancouver’s restaurant industry.
The GOODS from Painted Rock Estate Winery
Vancouver, BC | Join Proprietor John Skinner on Saturday, May 3, for an unforgettable evening of Painted Rock wines while overlooking the vineyards and Skaha Lake at the winery’s new tasting room. John will discuss the history and winemaking philosophies of Painted Rock, while guiding guests through the award-winning lineup of wines, complete with an exclusive sneak peek of the yet to be released, but highly anticipated 2011 vintage.
The wines will be celebrated and perfectly paired throughout a locally-inspired four course meal prepared by esteemed chef and sommelier Mark Filatow of Waterfront Wines. Tickets are $125.00 per person and are very limited. To purchase tickets, click here or call (250) 486-5175. Read more
GOODS from Laughing Stock Vineyards
Penticton, BC | In order to make great wine, you need great tools, this year’s winemaking tool chest has expanded to include 2 Amphora’s imported direct from Chianti, Italy. An ancient way to make and store wine from Greek and Roman days, Amphora’s are made of clay which helps the wine breathe during fermentation and storage. This will accelerate the maturity of the wine and we are also expecting some effect on the colour. So far this harvest, it is the fermentation home for a blend of Viognier, Rousanne & Marsanne. Part of a research project involved 4 different fermentation methods, it’s a way to explore these winemaking tools and the various flavours and textures of each.
Having completed 10 harvests since leaving the investment industry, Laughing Stock’s focus is no longer in growing the winery production, but rather increasing quality each year. This year’s vintage is looking stellar with the warm summer temps and extended Okanagan fall season. 10 tons to go! To see more pictures of Harvest 2013, visit our LFNG Facebook page. Read more
Dig this short film by Edmonton’s awesome Shovel & Fork on two of the coolest and most capable chefs in BC, Cameron Smith and Dana Ewart of Penticton’s Joy Road. We’ve known these guys for several years now and this is the first time we’ve ever seen their inspiring ethos captured so well on film. Nice work!
News from Scout supporter Naramata Heritage Inn & Spa
Naramata, BC | Naramata Heritage Inn & Spa seeking restaurant/catering manager. Wine knowledge/education essential, previous management/supervision experience in upscale casual dining required. You are: easy-going, passionate about food/wine, a born leader, results driven, a service pro, a computer nerd, creative, and grounded. E: firstname.lastname@example.org. F: 250.496.5001. Learn more about us after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from Joy Road Catering
Penticton, BC | Planning a voyage to the Okanagan for Spring Wine Festival? Don’t miss this rare opportunity to enjoy an exclusive barrel room dinner with Joy Road Catering and Le Vieux Pin Winery on April 30th. Your evening will begin with a reception wine followed by a tour of the winery and a pre-dinner barrel sampling while Cam and Dana put the finishing touches on an amazing four course meal. We will even take a quick walk into the vineyard (weather permitting) and talk about the importance of the land. The range of wines includes a library selection in the intimate barrel room at Le Vieux Pin. The winemaker will join you for dinner and answer all your questions as we enjoy a wonderful evening of good food, good wine and good people. This dinner is limited to 30 people. Details after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from Joy Road Catering
Penticton, BC | Sourcing and showcasing the bounty of the Okanagan continues to be a way of life for Cameron Smith and Dana Ewart, chefs and owners of Joy Road Catering. Their diverse culinary projects include a cult-worthy baking stand at the Penticton Farmers’ Market (of which Cameron has been voted President for the 2nd year), the South Okanagan’s leading catering company, specializing in food and wine pairing for 10-200 guests and as hosts for their celebrated mountain top outdoor dining experiences.
This summer’s Sunday Al Fresco Vineyard Dinners will be hosted on the grounds of the heavenly God’s Mountain Estate B&B just South of Penticton. This unparalleled Okanagan dining experience begins May 29th and runs through Thanksgiving.
These unique multi-coursed dinners unite curious diners, local epicureans and culinary tourists alike, at a communal, outdoor table overlooking one of the oldest Riesling vineyards in the Valley and shimmering Skaha Lake. The evening includes a sparkling wine reception and a carefully chosen, local wine pairing with each course. Get all the details after the jump… Read more
Pretty set up: a Joy Road catered supper paired with JoieFarm wines at God’s Mountain on the edge of Lake Skaha outside Penticton last night. Worthy of a run on sentence and then some and then some more.
Now that I regularly drive the 1.5 hour journey from the Similkameen to Kelowna to teach my wine classes I have had to create a coffee route to keep me fueled along the way. One of the most important things for me in any place is to find out where to get the best latte. It’s easier said than done up here, but over the years in the Okanagan (and now Similkameen) a number of decent coffee houses have popped up in the towns along my new path.
The first stop as I head north is Penticton. There are now two very solid stops to be found. If you are heading up the hill towards the Naramata Bench, a visit to the Bench Market is essential for good coffee and panini (and you can pick up some Vij’s curry for dinner). The second stop in Penticton is a new entry, the Bellevue Cafe. This little spot on Main Street makes for a perfect break as you browse your way through the farmer’s market in the summer months, and with free wireless it is also a good stop en route from which you can send a few emails.
After jumping back in the car and heading north, you are probably just finishing one coffee as you roll into Summerland. The Beanery at the end of Main Street makes a pretty decent latte and I am visiting this place a lot more as the roadwork between Summerland and Peachland causes many unplanned delays.
By Peachland, you can drop into Bliss Bakery for a coffee or sandwich and kill some time by staring out over the lake, but it is the next stop that is probably the most exciting for me.
Now, in one of the many large strip malls that have popped up in Westbank, you can find the Okanagan’s first Caffe Artigiano. This is the now the best coffee in the Okanagan and a forced stop on any journey through the big-box storeland of Westbank. I was there on opening day a couple of weeks ago and was pleased to see the new staff just making latte after latte until they’d reached the expected perfection. It is nice to see such commitment to product quality.
The only challengers to the Artigiano crown are the two Bean Scene cafes in Kelowna (Bernard Ave and Ellis Street). The coffee they call the “Traditional Cappuccino” is actually a small, strong powerhouse with perfectly textured steamed milk and intense flavour. The Bean Scene food is very ordinary, but for coffee they were the first ones here who were really committed to training staff to make it properly.
I have yet to explore in-depth the caffeine scene of Okanagan Falls, Oliver and Osoyoos, or the north Okanagan around Vernon, but at least, for a good length of the Okanagan and Similkameen, we can be sure of finding a great cup of coffee now, another sign of the improving food scene in the Okanagan.
Rhys Pender is a wine educator, freelance wine writer, wine judge and consultant to the industry. Visit his company Wine Plus+ online at www.wineplus.ca.
Strange times. I was one of four judges in the annual Grape Stomp here in Penticton last night. The competing teams were allowed to do anything to sway the judges, so it wasn’t exactly a quantifiable contest. At one point I had several shooters lined up in front of me (and in me), some cookies, scratch and win tickets, dollar coins, Mardi Gras beads, and bottles of wine whilst a revolving brace of women in various states of undress, intoxication, and age massaged me in earnest. Very odd. Slept like a baby at the Apple D’Or.