Kelowna's Central Kitchen and Bar and The Harvest Golf Club

 Friday. for me, started with a long morning walk taking advantage of the lakefront and enjoying the views.,

Our group met in the Lakeside dining room at 8, where they serve a pretty good cross-section of breakfasts to suit most tastes.
I'm not usually a breakfast guy but the idea of running out of gas on the golf course didn't strike me as the best strategy either. The Muesli with Local Berries seemed like and was a good idea. Served with a slice of sourdough toast, I was good to go.
Today we chased the little balls around 18 holes at The Harvest Gold Club. I found the wide, open fairways to be suitable to my type of "hit the ball everywhere but where you intend" kind of golf. It was another enjoyable day and the weather, although sometimes threatening, never broke into downpour.
Back at the hotel, we had some leisure time for a nap or a walk or a dip in the pool. Before dinner, we ended up at the Eldorado Hotel Lounge and ordered just enough appetizers to spoil our dinner. The general rule however was, no rush, we'll get there when we get there. This Margherita Flatbread, among other things, kind of hit the spot. 
We jumped on our giant bus and were whisked to Central Kitchen and Bar for dinner. It's a noisy place with sports on the TVs and a DJ making even more of a cacophony. That being said, there are a few interesting things on the menu. 
It's hard to go wrong with the burgers here. The My Boy Blue features blue cheese, mushrooms, prosciutto and hot sauce. Spicy and substantial. Missing in action were the crispy fried onions from my burger and one of my table mates' burgers.
If you are feeling less carnivorous, the Central Poke Bowl looked pretty good. It hosted ahi tuna and all the good stuff that make up a decent poke bowl.
It could be a fun place and I enjoyed the food but I'm not sure if this is the place for meaningful conversation. 
Stay tuned for our best day of the weekend.

Kelowna's Hotel Eldorado and Tower Ranch Golf and Country

Management at Berts Electric were good enough to reward some of their responsible type employees with a bit of a golf long weekend. You may have come across events of this nature in the past while perusing this blog. Anyway, on Thursday morning a group of us showed up at Shell Aviation in Abbotsford, were loaded onto a smallish chartered plane and flown to Kelowna.
From there, we were transported on a too big bus to the Hotel Eldorado (our home until Sunday) where we dropped our bags, grabbed a snack and then headed straight out to Tower Ranch Golf and Country Club.
In this group of a dozen guys from Bert's, I rank near the bottom as far as golfing skill is concerned however, I still love the game, being outdoors and hanging with my peers. I felt like I might have improved over the course of the three days when I was able to apply suggestions like, "keep your head down!"
The views from the hills of Kelowna are more than a little impressive and the fauna is close by. More views later. After finishing our first 18 holes, we went back to our rooms and cleaned up for dinner.
There is nothing like a dining room on the water and the Hotel Eldorado is all Lake Okanagan front. We were seated in a room to ourselves and our long-suffering server began the ordeal of looking after us for I'm not sure how many hours.
The Vintage Room at the Hotel Eldorado serves a pretty straightforward menu but I generally try to search out the items that I feel will test the kitchen's skill set. That being said, I notice that the Tomato Burrata Salad does not claim "house-made" burrata. Still, it was a very nice salad. The burrata was creamy and rich and the basil, beet and balsamic reduction made me happy.
Usually chicken would be the last thing that I would order but Chicken Leg Confit is slow-cooked in duck fat! The result of the duck fat was some silky-rich chicken with some very crispy accents from a visit to a saute pan I assume. The polenta and vegetables that were served with the chicken made it feel a little like a home-cooked meal. Very nice!
On the HE dessert menu, there are a few homemade sorbet and ice cream choices which were very tempting. However, I couldn't pass on the Buttermilk & Rosemary Panna Cotta with Lychee granita, raspberry and rose tea. It is hard to imagine so many diverse flavours playing together nicely but this was a winner. You don't expect rosemary in your dessert but the mild piney accent was just there without taking over.
Our group would be fed quite a lot by the hotel kitchen folks and it was always a pleasant and friendly experience complete with the beautiful water view in the background.
Stay tuned for Friday's adventures.

Bar Oso - Whistler

Bar Oso is certainly the place in Whistler that we recommend the most highly. Admittedly we have not been to that many places and we kind of have a low bar for our Whistler expectations but this place is both charming and the food exciting. The service was stellar also. So if you are not planning to read any further, you have our overall impression which was very good.

Bar Oso does not take reservations and is very small. The trick is to be prepared for a 1 to 2 hour wait. Leave your number, have a plan for an hour or two, and be prepared when they text you. 
We already had our hearts set on the Fresh Charcuterie Board. The chef who is originally from Madrid brings inspiration from his home to create the house-made pates etc. and this board was spectacular. We ordered the "plus cheese" to add some variety. Mharie and I meticulously went taste by taste so as to miss nothing. We each had our favourites, her's being the duck liver pate and the 12-month-old manchego while I zeroed in on the Valdeon blue and the rabbit rillette. Our server restocked our crostini when it looked like we were going to run out!
We wanted a little taste of Ibirico Ham which came on a skewer with Manchego Cheese and a tomato (tasty) and tried Brandade on a crostini and Sobrasada on crostini. Sobrasada is a spreadable salami that was mixed with a bit of honey and was spectacular. Don't miss that!
Finally, we had the Wild Scallop Crudo. With a white garlic sauce, prosciutto bits and white grapes this was another tasty dish with some nice creaminess and just enough very fresh scallop to provide a taste of seafood.
Bar Oso is not cheap but in Whistler where nothing is cheap, it felt like good value. We  paid somewhere around $85 with tax and tips. We just took our time and enjoyed every bite which we should be doing every time we dne out. Don't overstay you welcome though as things are a little snug and you know there are people waiting!
Food              5 out of 5
Service          5 out of 5
Comfort         4 out of 5
Value             4 1/2 out of 5

Crepe Montagne - Whistler

Sunday (this is a couple of weeks ago now) was beautiful in Whistler and we had purchased our tickets for the Peak 2 Peak gondola, so that was good. Needless to say, the view from the top was spectacular.

We did some hiking around, saw some marmots and enjoyed a wrap at the Roundhouse Lodge. We saw that mountain bikers are able to take the gondola all the way to the top of the Whistler and ride all the way down! Great fun! Of course, on the ride down Whistler, we spotted a black bear loping across the ski runs and we assume that there were some surprised cyclists. 
Having hit the slopes early, we were down in time for a late lunch. We decided to try something a little different and went to Crepe Montagne. We got off to a good start by being welcomed by very friendly staff and seated at a lovely outdoor table where we could watch the world going by. We ordered the appetizer Raclette and fell into conversation about our enjoyable morning etc.
After close to 30 minutes, we realized that we were getting very hungry and so we got the attention of someone (not our server) who wandered within contact distance. It certainly seemed that our order had been forgotten as what arrived, was not the product of complicated time-consuming preparation. A couple of slices of cheese melted over bacon and ham and some broccoli and cauliflower was not what we expected. It was tasty enough with the cheese and bacon being rich and the vegetables nicely offsetting the richness. It just seemed very haphazardly thrown together as when an order is forgotten and then rushed. Even a couple more minutes of melting wouldn't have hurt. It was a little disappointing.
The Mushrooms with Ham in Cream Sauce Crepes were definitely the highlight of our meal. The crepes were nicely made featuring buckwheat flour, and the filling was rich and tasty. At $25, we found the pricing to be a bit extravagant, however. Crepes are not such a profoundly difficult thing to make that the price is merited. Still...Whistler.
I talked Mharie out of the Banana Caramel Crepes that she wanted for dessert and into the Crepes Suzzette. I didn't think about the fact that the magic of flambe doesn't really work in the mid-day sunlight. Nor does the flame do its work with the wind all around. The result was that the kirsch when poured over the crepe still tasted strongly of alcohol. That was not the plan. The crepes were tasty enough again and a nice dessert but not mind-blowing.
Apparently, there is inside seating but on a beautiful day, who cares? We chose Crepe Montagne because it was a little bit unique. It serves something that you don't see a lot and we always like to go out on a limb. Unfortunately, we weren't blown away even though the possibility was there. If you order a flambe, make sure that you are inside. 
Food                2 1/2 out of 5
Comfort           3 1/2 out of 5
Service             2 1/2 out of 5
Value                2 1/2 outof 5

Hunter Gather - Whistler

So let's go back to Whistler where we were a couple of weekends ago. We chose a place called Hunter Gather to go for dinner our first evening in town. Wait a minute...Shouldn't it be Hunter Gatherer? Or at least Hunt Gather? I have to admit that the name Hunter Gather makes me a little crazy. The Yelp reviews were all over the place but Mharie's kids had a nice brunch here a while ago so we threw caution to the wind. Also, we are barbeque fans (I know that everyone else is too) and they offered a platter that looked pretty good. 

They don't take reservations nor text you but they took our name (first come first serve), gave us a time to come back hopeful (so we were able to wander at least) and they were pretty close to correct. We were seated by a very enthusiastic host and ordered our barbeque platter.
I must preface these comments by saying that barbeque has been ruined for me by Pinkerton's. a barbeque joint that I visited in Houston, with my brother, a minute before the pandemic began. The memory is still strong. That being said, the platter arrived and looked good. At $68, I would say that it is a reasonable deal, especially for Whistler. I was told that most of their smoking is done off-site in a facility that is loaded with stacks of applewood and smells of smoke. The meats on the platter too, were redolent of applewood.
The meats, for the most part, were well cooked and tender and were anything but dry. The problem was (and maybe not everyone considers this a problem) that the smoke was the only flavour here. I didn't ask but I am under the impression that they didn't use a rub or a mop. There was salt on the table, fortunately, and we were not shy to use it.
The ribs were our favourite and we were impressed with the sides also. Baked beans, potatoes and cornbread were all pretty good. The platter was generous enough that we had quite a bit leftover and it made the trip home to Aldergrove with us. There it was repurposed and spruced up a bit with some sauce and other touches. Even then, the good smoke flavour shone through.
HG is a beautiful and comfortable place to eat with friendly service and evidently, they do a very decent brunch. Overall, we were not blown away by the barbeque platter but it certainly didn't go to waste. I might be inclined to try them again on another occasion and see how they do with other offerings. 
Food                 3 out of 5
Comfort            4 out of 5
Service             4 out of 5
Value                3 out of 5

Vancouver Foodster's West End Tasting Plates

Well, it seemed like more than a minute since we had participated in a Tasting Plates event sponsored by Vancouver Foodster, but there we were! That is, there I was as Mharie was working Wednesday evening and I didn't even save anything for her. 

The tour started off for me (we all started in different places) at Loteria on Granville near Nelson. This is a place that I have never been to and was happy to discover. The menu here is a little different from what I expected judging a book by its seeming fast food cover. Their emphasis is on tamales, tostadas and tortas which I am already planning to return and try. They also have taco sudados  (roughly 'basket tacos' but I fell down a rabbit hole trying to figure that out) and that is what we sampled on our visit.
This Taco de Chicharron was a treat. I think of chicharron more as the puffy pork skin chips but this was meatier while still being deep-fried. Finished with cabbage, feta and sour cream it is a deal at the menu price of $4. I am glad to have tried this place and will be back!
I skipped right to dessert (it was a geographic thing rather than a culinary decision) at Trees Cheesecake and Organic Coffee on Davie between Thurlow and Bute.
A piece of Tiramisu Cheesecake and coffee would have been a perfect way to end the evening and it was even pretty good in the middle of things. Outstanding cheesecake! Plus these people were so welcoming friendly! 
After dessert, I headed almost across the road to the rock-solid Davie Dosa Company. Mharie and I have been here for several Vanfoodster events and for a regular diner at least once! They are always excellent hosts and serve wonderful South Indian food.
They served us a dosa with a lamb and lentil filling that was very tasty. The dosa itself was crispy but light and was perfect with the sambar and tomato and coconut chutneys. This is one of the great places for a meal in the West End.
Finally, I skipped across to Robson via Jervis and then down towards Denman to J and G Fried Chicken. The owner happened to be there and recognized me from previous events (most recently a chicken wing challenge) and it kind of made me feel like a celebrity, you know? Well, not really. I am impressed that she can remember customers.
The basket of deep-fried sample goodness was hot and crispy as usual and included their signature popcorn chicken, the new squid ink fish cake, yam fries and their amazing wings. All great and its a good thing that this was our last stop as I was close to bursting (and yet never thought to take anything home for my wife).
I enjoyed this little jaunt around the West End. I got my steps and even discovered a new place that I will visit with Mharie in the near future.
BTW, where was Richard during all of this? I didn't see him once!

Fable Diner - Le Burger Week

Another Saputo sponsored Le something Week. We don't mind as we like cheese and so far, no great scandals have dogged Saputo to my knowledge. Dairy is not helping the planet and eventually, we may have to give it up but there are many other areas that we can concentrate on to reduce our carbon footprints in the meantime. Anyway, this may be our only stop on the Le Burger Week trail but we like to participate at least a little bit in food people events. And also, we have kind of wanted to try Fable Diner!

Located at the corner of Broadway and Main, the chewed-up streetscape (Skytrain work, I believe) made it a little hard to get a 'front of the store' photograph. The best that I could do was the welcome mat. We arrived at an odd hour of the early afternoon, to a reservation that we didn't really need and were seated in a comfy booth in the chic classic diner. While navigating their website to make said reservation, we signed up for notifications which entitled us to a free milkshake!
This was a ridiculously great milkshake. Banana and Vanilla (or vice versa), it was obviously made on an old-timey milkshake machine as the overflow came in the metal cup! The banana and vanilla were accompanied by some sort of caramelly sauce, whipped cream, and Frosted Flakes! It was so rich and amazing! So then, as things worked out, we started then with our desert!
FD's entry for Le Burger Week is the Pizza Burger. This is a smash burger with pepperoni, pizza sauce, and mozzarella. The burger patty was perfectly cooked with crispy extremities and beefy taste. It turned out to be a pretty impressive sandwich. We ordered a rosti instead of fries on the side which was a good choice. I'm not quite sure how they make it but a mold is clearly involved. Really tasty!
We didn't realize that Triple D (featuring Chad Kroeger!) had visited FD but they had. We ordered the Roast Duck Pancake (and watched the DDD episode later) which was quite impressive overall. The duck was on the gamey side (which it often is) and kind of crossed up the balance of flavours a little bit. In the DDD episode, the chef added some hoisin to the duck and we are quite sure that it did not happen with our dish. We are certain that hoisin would have balanced things out just a little better. Still, this was a creative and beautiful dish.
Finally, we had a side of Corn Fritters. Served with a chipotle dipping sauce, we really enjoyed them. They were crispy on the outside and not too dense with a little spice from somewhere!
This is a sharply decorated and comfortable space. Service is friendly and our food arrived quickly (although we were almost the only ones there in the middle of the afternoon). So this will be our only Le Burger Week post but check online and see if there is anything that you would like to try from the participants. We can recommend the Pizza Burger and Fable Diner
Food                  4 out of 5
Service              4 1/2 out of 5
Comfort             4 out of 5
Value                 4 out of 5

Ohyama Ramen - Whistler

So we're spending a weekend in Whistler thanks to a wedding present gift certificate that we received from my employer! The main event will be spending some time on Sunday riding up and down the mountains including the Peak 2 Peak Gondola. Eating out in Whistler is always a bit of a crapshoot as far as I am concerned. It's a tourist town so of course, things are generally overpriced and maybe the talent is not there. One can't say that's always true (that's why I said crapshoot) as you can get great food but it will generally cost you a small fortune. If you've ever read any blog posts here, you know I'm kind of medium to cheap ass when it comes to eating out.
Ohyama Ramen is where we found some lunch on Saturday. It's a bit off the main Village Stroll on the Whistler Conference Centre Parking lot. We arrived a little before noon and were seated outside right away.
As we often do when having ramen, we started with Chicken Karaage. This was good. It was crispy and fairly tender. It was not the most amazing that we have ever had but decent. A little Kewpie Mayo on the side was nice.
It's a little hard to get your veggies when you're away for the weekend, so we chose the Fried Brussels Sprouts which were really tasty! Just salty enough and just cooked (and not cooked to death). 
Mharie had the Basic Ramen with shoyu broth. This was a decent bowl at a decent price. It was not mind-blowing but the broth was flavourful, the noodles satisfying and the chashu was fatty and tasty. You could do a lot worse than a bowl of ramen while in Whistler.
I had the Vegetarian Japanese Curry. Japanese curry is milder than other curries such as South Asian or Thai but I found this to be really too mild. I would have enjoyed a bit of a kick. Still, it was pleasant enough and left me feeling satisfied and not uncomfortable (vegetarian eats will do that for you).
There is quite a bit of outside seating at OR but it is quite nice inside as well. It seems to be decorated in the streetscape of some Japanese Village and looked very comfortable. Service was friendly and decent and we enjoyed our outside table with the obstructed view of the mountains. Decent food at a reasonable price is quite a find in Whistler!
Food                         3 out of 5
Comfort                    4 out of 5
Service                     3 1/2 out of 5
Value                        3 1/2 out of 5

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Are you guys eating again? At some point Marie and I became the kind of people who take pictures of everything we eat, whether in a restaura...