Tag Archives: coconut

Salt Spring Island weekend mini-vacation

I’m not sure if it’s a sign of getting older, or the fact that I moved from a house into a high-rise apartment building, or the fact that there are two construction sites across the street from me, but I’ve been finding the city tiresome. Don’t get me wrong. I love Vancouver, I love my neighbourhood (and its impressive 95% score on a walkability index) and I love not having a car.

View from Salt Spring Island getaway house

This is an arbutus tree. I never knew they were red. Or so pretty.

But still, it’s nice to have friends who invite you to islands for long weekend mini-vacations. Friends with parents with houses on Salt Spring Island. You know, friends with parents with houses on Salt Spring Island with views like this from the back porch.

And speaking of said porch, candelit dinners with friends are also wonderful. One night it was barbecued ribs, another night handmade pizza.

And piiiiiie. One strawberry-rhubarb, one blueberry. I did not, however, bake them in this darling little wood stove—I used a convection oven. But they sure look pretty on top of it, so let’s just pretend. Let’s also pretend that this picture isn’t blurry. And I’ll pretend that I hadn’t been drinking wine in the sun all afternoon.

Pie!

Pie! One strawberry-rhubarb, one blueberry. Both delicious.

Salt Spring Island, for the uninitiated, is a mecca of educated hippie artistic fantasticness. Where nary a multi-national chain can be found, and where there are no fewer than three soap companies. (These are clean hippies, understand.) And at last weekend’s Saturday market, it seemed that the entire island could be found at the city square.

And what a market it was. Gorgeous pottery, hand-knit hats, sock monkeys, carnival masks, tie-dyed yoga pants, hula hoops: it was all there. And, of course, lots of artisan food vendors and stunningly fresh produce. The farmers market aisle was fragrant with the scent of basil, and everywhere you looked there was an heirloom tomato more perfect than the last. And stripey Portuguese garlic, all coy in its basket.

Portuguese garlic at Salt Spring Island market

Stripey!

I discovered that Foxglove Farm, with its farm dinners, accommodation and education programs, has the best raspberries that I’ve tasted in years. I ogled the selection of fresh goat cheeses from Salt Spring Island Cheese Company (almost too pretty too eat).

And yes, I found chocolate.

Salted caramels from Chocolate Beach

Caramels with Himalayan sea salt. Tasty.

Chocolate Beach is a teeny tiny chocolate company run by Joanne and Rob Burns. She’s the chocolatier, formerly goat cheese maker, formerly something else. She’s now retired and making chocolates with certified fair trade chocolate from Cocoa Camino. Her sea salt caramel, a pleasantly chewy caramel dipped in chocolate and topped with pink Himalayan sea salt, was lovely. Rob manned the other side of the booth with an impressive display of fudge.

While I didn’t try this tarte au chocolat, it’s awfully pretty. And I’m a sucker for a cursive chalk on a chalkboard. It helps that this table was run by a very friendly French couple who spoke like zees.

Tarte au chocolat

Cue accordion music and Audrey Tautou cameo appearance.

My sweet tooth also spied other treats: stacks of buttery shortbread from Bite Me! Gourmet Treats and honest-to-goodness cannoli from an Italian food stand.

And, because I clearly hadn’t had a decadent enough day, I had a pineapple-coconut popsicle from the Salt Spring Island Fruitsicle stand. Self-proclaimed “creators and purveyors of delicious, fruit based iced lollies,” these were the hit of the market. Popsicles that taste like real fruit. How novel.

All in all, a great weekend away.

Stacks of shortbread

Stacks of shortbread from Bite Me! Gourmet Treats

Cannoli

I love cannoli, but I can't get a good cannoli in Vancouver. These were good (but not like the stuff you can get in Montreal).

Chocolates from Chocolate Beach at Salt Spring Island market

An assortment of chocolates from Chocolate Beach

Candlelit dinner on Salt Spring Island

Life was made for candlelit dinners with good food, good wine and great company.

Sunset, glorious sunset from the porch.

And now I'm just being mean by posting this. But look! Stunning!

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Frasca’s chocolate tasting plate

As I mentioned yesterday, I ate at Frasca when I was in Boulder. It wasn’t enough that I had lobster, beef shoulder and bombolini – I also had to try the house chocolates.

The plate came with coconut, almond praline, passionfruit caramel, 72% dark chocolate, and espresso chocolates. They were all well done, but the highlights were the passionfruit caramel and the 72% dark chocolate.

Aside from combining two of my favourite flavours, the passionfruit caramel was a great combination of tart, sweet and rich flavours. All gooey, sticky and creamy, it was delicious. The 72% dark chocolate truffle was lovely and bittersweet, with an amazing airy texture.

Nom.

Frasca Food & Wine
1738 Pearl St
Boulder, CO
303-442-6966

Dine Out Vancouver: YEW’s desserts don’t disappoint

I’m thoroughly impressed by YEW. They thought of all the details, and it really makes all the difference. Our server had exceptional product knowledge, the plates (the actual, physical plates) were interesting, and the plating (how the food was presented) was thoughtful and beautiful.

But best of all? Dessert. Was. Great.

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Birthday (cup)cake(s)

For Elisa’s birthday party last night I made three kinds of cupcakes:

(a) white cake with banana-white chocolate ganache filling, whipped white chocolate icing
(b) lemon-coconut cupcakes with lemon curd filling, cream cheese icing, candied lemon chip
(c) chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese filling, sour cream chocolate icing

Tonight, I made gnocchi from scratch and they turned out to be delicious, fluffy pillows of potato goodness. I sauteed them in brown butter, with button mushrooms and red swiss chard. SO DELICIOUS.

New York goodies, day three

I was in New York for five days. This is what I ate on day three.

-A ginormous sandwich from Salumeria Biellese, which smokes and cures all its own meats. Four bucks gets you a foot-long, 6-inch high sandwich stuffed full of meat and provolone.
-Two mini-eclairs from Fauchon, one coconut (delicious and creamy) and one coffee (yum). The eclairs cost more than my giant sandwich. In an attempt to combat the ridiculous rainstorm outside, I also had a French hot chocolate. I don’t know what made it so French, aside from it being made at Fauchon, but it was pretty tasty.
-Shanghainese noodles from Shanghai Cafe.
Vegan coconut layer cake from Atlas, which was almost passable. That is, as cake it was just okay, but as vegan cake it was pretty good.