A Pair Of Gourmands

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Stinky, but good! Commercial Street in Vancouver.

He says:

I just came back from a quick trip to Vancouver to promote my new book. I had not been shopping on Commercial Street in 5 years.

I drove around a few blocks before finding a parking spot. The smell of grungy streets and urine mixed with coffee, baked goods and pizza hit my nose as soon as I got out. Right away I realized that I love the Okanagan, but I really miss the city smells. I went in the Italian market where I use to buy fresh produce, olive oil, pasta and breads. The place was packed with people from all walks of life, all of them holding a deli number waiting to be served by the 8 ladies behind the deli counter.

Just like our Valoroso here in Kelowna, their showcase was full of meats, cheeses, sausages and olives, but the major difference was their store as a whole was not very clean and/or organized. A young city like Vancouver needs those artsy, grungy areas to stay just the way they are right now. It gives our tourist visitors a taste of home. Commercial Street is known for supporting events with an international flair like music Festivals. It is also THE best place to watch a World Cup soccer game, if you have never been there, you should try it one day, from First Ave go east…. Find yourself a place to buy some picnic food and go sit down in the park adjacent to that neighborhood. This is the park where Italian elders meet to play Bacce and exchange lies and jokes all afternoon.

She says:

As much as I enjoy living in a rural setting, with the garden to play in and the vineyard to walk in, every time I go back to Vancouver I remember the things I loved about it that are not a part of where I am now. I used to live in Kitsilano, a few blocks from the beach, and every morning my dog Satchmo and I would visit with our friends (four-legged and two-legged) at Kits Point to start the day. On my days off, we would head down to Granville Island to buy whatever inspired us (she especially likes grapes and carrots). We would sit on the bench outside and watch the buskers and the kids feeding the pigeons as I fed her grapes and planned that evening’s dinner in my head. I loved the noise, and the smell of croissants and fish & chips mingling with fresh flowers and espresso coffee.

It is the contrasts that are so striking in the city, because they are not contrasted. Everything is thrown together, like it or not, and you can choose to be anonymous in a sea of people or to stand out in the crowd and perhaps even be someone you are not, for who is to know? In a small community, everyone knows everyone else’s business and that is part of the charm.

I suppose I love extremes, for there are things I enjoy about both the country and the city. I feel very fortunate that here in Kelowna we have many of my favourites from both ends of the world – the charm of a small town and also a lovely Italian deli, being able to meet people from all over the world and yet walking my dogs in a vineyard every morning… It is nice to smell the sea air, but I don’t imagine I will be moving away from the Okanagan anytime soon. Besides, the traffic here is much more manageable!

Chef Martin’s Tip 30: Use mushrooms, fresh or dried!

If I am looking to make a successful dinner, a well-prepared mushroom dish will always do it for me…

Sautéed white mushrooms have to be done in a super-hot pan. Use olive oil to start so it does not burn too quickly, and finish with a touch of butter for added punch.

Grilled Portabella mushrooms can easily replace a beef burger patty in a bun. Just marinate some clean portabella in balsamic vinegar for 1 hour, then grill.

Dried morel mushrooms are awesome in a cream sauce or a red wine sauce, served with salmon or beef tenderloin.

Dried porcini mushrooms in a risotto are “the bomb”.

Oh, by the way, wild mushrooms like warm and wet weather, so if you are experienced at knowing what to look for, start looking -they are coming soon…

“No matter what happens in the kitchen, never apologize.”
(Julia Child, 1912-2004)

The Chef in Stead - Website For Previous Chef Tips For comments or questions, you can reach Martin at 250-712-4440 or Email.

These are the stores where I shop, go visit them and tell them I sent you...

Hooked on Seafood, 1951 Harvey Ave, Kelowna 860-2541
Discover Wines, 2080 C Springfield Rd, Kelowna 868-3990
Matterhorn Bakery, 103 - 3640 Gosset Rd, Westbank 768-3302
L&D Meat, 103 - 2365 Gordon St, Kelowna 717-1997
Quality Greens, 3717 A Old Okanagan, Westbank 707-1420
Valoroso Italian Market, 1467 Sutherland Rd, Kelowna 860-3631
Kitchen Niche, Orchard Park mall, Kelowna 860-3637

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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