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Beef Ternderloin

After a few days off, I am back for what will hopefully be some interesting reading.

Dragon Life thanks for the comments, I will track down some of your suggestions on wine.

In my next post I will give you my favourite wines from the recent Vancouver Wine Festival.

After the festival on Saturday, my wife and I went to Yaletown to have a nice meal and carry on with our wine drinking ways. We went to a lovely restaurant that we have been to many time before. I had Ahi Tuna, my wife had pasta. We drank a nice Pinot Noir and everything was going well.

A crowd of ladies came into the restaurant and sat beside us. They ordered the usual assortment of martini’s and other concoctions, as they were dressed to hit the clubs after dinner and wanted to get a little liquored up. I personally do not like to drink hard liquor with food, but I know a lot of people do not like wine, so whatever floats your boat….

What shocked me was the crowd of ladies proceeded to order rib eye steaks and beef tenderloin and insisted on the meat to be cooked WELL DONE! Ie: dry, rock hard, no taste, why bother ordering it and paying $35.00 CDN for the food!

Why should I be excited, why should I care? Well…. for those of you who used to go to granny’s, or still do, for Sunday roast beef dinner, you will understand my comments. Why would one want to eat a piece of beef that was so overcooked, that you would need a lumpy gravy to add any semblance of moisture, yuck!

As we were leaving, I asked the waiter what he thought about this. He rolled his eyes and said “we get all types in here on the weekends, so what can you do”?

I suppose the restaurant could refuse service, but then you wouldn’t make all that money off of the martinis….

Up next wine festival faves.

I see through my blog stats that someone made it to my blog looking for food to pair with Zinfandel.  While that is an easy one:  Pasta with red sauce, barbecue anything, stews, steak, lamb and, yes, Ahi Tuna and Salmon.

Here are some other things to think about:

White wines with lots of oak are tough to pair with food (see Chardonnay’s from Napa and Australia).  Try Pinot Gris, Sauv Blanc or Reisling instead.  Save your Chards for summer sipping or rich dishes with cream and butter sauces.

Red and fish go together, see salmon and pinot noir.

Champagne or sparkling wine matches with lots of foods, especially salads, light appy’s and fish dishes. 

Do not use bad wine to cook with.  All the awful things about the wine will be brought out in the cooking process.  Use a wine that you would actually drink.  That does not mean the expensive bottle of Burgundy you got for Xmas one year, but a pleasurable easy drinking wine, you would serve to guests.

Last, but not least, experiment, there are no rules and at the end of the day, pour the wines you like with the food you like, you will certainly be happy.

Vancouver Wine Festival Vancouver Wine Festival

There are many things that make Vancouver one of the best cities in the world: The people, the beauty, the food, the Canucks, and the WINE FESTIVAL! For those of us who are lucky enough to live in this beautiful city, we get a special treat every March after it has rained every day since Christmas.

This year the festival is very exciting as the “host” country is Australia. While I do not know the exact stats, I can tell you that Australian wine is very popular in these parts. Everything from “critter” wine (see that crap Yellow Tail) to high end Penfolds Grange sells well in this market. While one could argue that Aussie Shiraz and Chardonnay’s are all starting to taste the same and if you stick to the big producers, you might encounter this. There are plenty of Aussie wineries producing unique and fabulous wines.

I encourage you to check out some of the smaller wineries or wineries that may have corporate money backing them, but are left alone to their own devices. Try different varietals and blends. Things like Grenache, Reisling, GSM’s, Sauv Blancs, “Sticky’s” and Cab’s. There is more to Australia than Shiraz with Yellow Labels and Penguins on the bottle. Some of my favourite Aussie wineries that will be at the festival are:

So enjoy the festival, try some old favourites and something different and I look forward to hearing about your hits and misses.

Vino Wine BarFolks, I am back from my tropical vacation and see I have received some traffic, for which I say Thanks! Raj, thanks for the link from your blog. Yes folks, it is possible to order wine at a restaurant to impress the boss or that new prospect.

So, I went to Hawaii and did very Hawaiian things like, sit on my lanai, take naps, go golfing, watch wales, swim in the ocean and drink wine?

I am not a hard liquor or tropical drink fan except in Vegas, when “G&T’s” are involved, so I was determined to find good wine that I can’t buy in Van City. After discovering that Longs Drugs has better booze than Safeway? Go figure, “Prozac on isle 4, Mr. Wine Snob and a bottle of cheap chianti to wash it down on isle 5,” I started asking around. A bar tender at a wine bar called Vino in Kapalua, said, “Go find Mr. Wine in Lahaina.” Having eerie Homer Simpson “Mr. Plow” flashbacks, I tracked down Mr. Wine.

Situated off of the main drag next to a Radio Shack was a non-descript store, but inside their were treasures abound. Pinot Noirs from Hartford, Flowers, Ancien, Foxen (See the movie Sideways for reference), cult cabs from Napa, if that is your thing and other hard to find treasures from the west coast of the USA. All reasonably priced and get this, only 4% sales tax!

Sigh, my suitcase was full with our clothes and I could not haul any wine back. Homeland Security allows you to bring a Pineapple on the plane, but any liquids on deck are a no-no, so I could not carry any vino on board. I guess this means I will get on some winery waiting lists and see if my name is called.

More importantly, has anyone been to any “non-wine” destinations and discovered a surprise wine find? Would love to hear from you!