Local goodies

Recently, I stopped by a local cheese shop and brought home some Poplar Grove Cheese. Along with that, I picked up some Ace Bakery crisps. A wine from Summerhill and I had a nice little snack, all made in Canada.

It is interesting to look around your grocery store, and even farther flung to nearby specialty shops, and source local ingredients and products. Local folks putting their hard work on display, if we just cast an eye to something new.

It is too easy to quickly grab the brand of cheese with the most prominent display. Choose a wine from 3,000 miles (or more away) and crackers – who can tell the difference anyway?

Wouldn’t it be nice if local farmers, artisans and producers got a slight home team advantage? A sign that displays the local flag? Shouldn’t we know who are neighbours are?

Well in this little sampling, we did. And it tasted great.

Others writing about local food:

Kids theatre

I have posted many times why I like live theatre. But my experience, for the most part, is professional live theatre.

On Friday, my husband attended a matinée of “A Midsummer’s Night Dream”, performed by pre-teens. We happened to be very familiar with 2 of the children actors. But, according to the daily reports, these drama students had not even started their speaking part practice until Thursday.

So it was going to be interesting.

We arrived at the appointed time to the venue – The Surrey Arts Centre. This is an amazing building which is helping to create and showcase art of various forms in the City of Surrey.

The actors were running behind for the 2pm start. So we were directed over to the concession. Just like at “real” theatre events there was a full choice of items, including alcohol. So I went for the last glass of Township 7 Chardonnay.

As my husband and I chatted, enjoyed the art in the building and guessed what the performance would be like, it felt like any other pre-theatre build up.

All the kids were wonderful. They ran around with paper scripts and needed prompting, but they were having a blast and it showed. The Director was a gracious woman who showered them with praise. My kids concluded that this was the best camp they had ever been to.

Open Range

It was a last-minute decision. Where to eat on a Thursday night in my home town where I have not lived for decades? We were in the North, coming out of Market Mall and I had to give some directions for driving, fast.

Somewhere from the depths of my memory, I came up with “Open Range“, where I had eaten once about 8 years ago. With all the restaurants that I eat in, some would question how I could possibly remember a detail like that? But good meals have a way of sticking with me.

Our trio was a native of Toronto and another all the way from Oslo. Both men, I had chosen a steak house wisely. And we were in Alberta. The question came from Norway, “why is beef so famous here?”

According to the Alberta Beef Industry website: A major reason is the way we finish our beef with grain. Alberta beef is famous for its flavour, texture and quality, and grain is certainly part of the equation. Research has shown that consumers prefer tender, juicy beef with the firm, white fat cover of grain fed cattle.

We started with a classic Calgary drink taken to new level. A Steakhouse Caesar. This had a smoky paprika mixed into the spice around the rim and a lovely piece of beef jerky on a skewer. That got us to talking about our favourite types of jerky and another Alberta landmark – Longview jerky shop. (I just checked and you can order online!)

While beef is a major offering in a steakhouse, the special of the night was bison. This dish was heavenly:

  • large disc of mashed potatoes
  • bison flat-iron steak, so tender you could cut it with a butter knife
  • beef au juice spooned over
  • large crostini with sautéed mushrooms and fresh mozzarella melted on top

We paired this with a wine from British Columbia. Sandhill Cabernet Merlot 2009.

Deep garnet colour with a rich bouquet of black currant accented by notes of oak, chocolate, spice and black pepper. A dry, medium to full-bodied wine with firm tannins, good structure and moderate acidity. Flavours of rich, almost sweet, black currants, and spice fill the mouth. A dry, lingering finish of currant, blackberry and spice. Enjoy with rare to medium-rare grilled steaks and game meats.

The evening was really nice. Good food always is, but I think the company is the most important “secret” ingredient.