Monthly Archives: September 2020

8 people choose from 15 wineries and 5 restaurants on our 12th Annual Okanagan Wine Buying TripSouth Okanagan

There’s no consensus but some clear winners when 8 people visit up to 15 wineries and 5 restaurants and are asked for their favourites.

We knew this trip would be different due to Co-Vid but how, was the looming question. We’ve booked our tastings in advance for years. The wineries appreciate it and often provide something special. This year reservations are a must and everyone is enjoying better service but perhaps not quite what a small group would have experienced in the past.

Back in the south this year we booked super early at The Spirit Ridge Resort, one of the top options, boasting full suites, an onsite winery, multiple dining options, 2 pools, a gym, 9 hole golf course, spa, cultural centre and so much more.

It’s a beautiful drive from Vancouver. We started out in rain but as we descended into the Similkameen valley we drove into sunshine and perfect weather for a picnic at Clos du Soleil Winery in Keremeos. We enjoyed a guided tasting at our picnic tables where wines were poured by a server in a shield. Maybe not the perfect distancing but we were outside and she backed away to speak. Then we opened our picnic baskets and shared the 1st meal of the trip along with a bottle of Celestial and Capella, in my opinion the best value Bordeaux style red and white in BC.

A short drive on to Cawston we had a reservation at Vanessa Vineyards where a barrels were set with 4 glasses and 12 tiny plastic shot glasses pre poured with the wines we could then dump in the glass as our host described them. Great wines but I didn’t like the plastic glasses. The tasting room has only been there a few years but the vines go back much further and in the hands of legendary Howard Soon they are turning out super star wines.

Vanessa Vineyards CoVid Tasting

Across the street at Seven Stones there is a patio with tables and they’re also using their bar with very strict rules about where to stand and quick reminders not to move around. The happy host poured each wine but kept her distance and was wearing a shield. Always one of our favourite stops, the wines just get better and better. Booking a cellar tour is even better. Dinner in the cellar is on my radar.

Spotted Lake is not as dramatic this year.

With one last stop to check out Spotted Lake we headed into Osoyoos and Spirit Ridge. We had plenty of time to settle in before dinner at The Bear, The Fish, The Root and The Berry.

Bannock and Spreads

We couldn’t resist the bannock with spicy creamed corn, white bean & sumac spread, beetroot relish, some garlic roasted tomato es and pickles it’s perfect with something for everyone.

3 Sisters Salad

Squash, corn and beans, toasted pumpkin seeds and a honey mint dressing is a salad I’d order every time. Nutritious and delicious.

Halibut with Chestnut Pappardella

Fresh halibut is always popular and there were several orders at our tables. Mine is sans chorizo. The chestnut pasta was too rich for some and I couldn’t quite finish but with peas and spinach and white onion velouté it was delicious.

Bison Ribs WTF Mushrooms and Duck Fat Potatoes

I think the picture speaks for itself but I can attest to the potatoes being fantastic and those bones were clean when the left our table.

Hasselback Butternut Squash

Vegetarians are well cared for with several choices. The squash was as good as it looks with crispy fried sage, salsa verde, greens and more of the delicious honey, mint dressing.

The Bear, The Fish, The Root and The Berry is truly making the most of local ingredients and helping connect us to the culinary history of the Okanagan and has elevated the dining at Spirit Ridge.

Day 1 – 3 wineries and 1 restaurant, more to come.

Tofino and Wolf In The Fog are the perfect antidote to 2020.

A day of beach combing helped build an appetite so we could try as many dishes as possible at the incredible Wolf In The Fog.

I requested a ginless cocktail to pair with the oysters and was surprised with a cognac version of the French 75, a champagne cocktail that proved the perfect match.

Champagne Cocktail

The oysters wrapped in shoestring potatoes have been on the menu since day 1 and is one of the best cooked oysters creations ever. Truly crave worthy. Served with mushy peas and truffle oil. Add an extra oyster or there could be a battle for the 3rd in a regular order.

Potato Crusted Oysters

Humboldt squid was lightly battered and fried to a light crisp finish. Served with cabbage, tomato and poblano mayo it’s a strange and beautiful combination.

Humboldt Squid

Grilled romaine with bagna cauda was a treat. Finger licking good sauce.

Grilled Romaine

I would never order a seaweed salad but the rave table reviews got me into it. Wow! It was great. Seaweed, mushrooms, daikon, puffed rice, sesame mayo and miso Chili oil is a match made in heaven. I need a recipe for sesame mayo. I think it would be incredibly useful.

Seaweed Salad

Chef Nutting and teams time on Mexico shows up in the menu in wonderful ways. The featured vegetarian mushroom croquet with mole, beans and habanero peaches was delicious. The mole and peaches unforgettable. Hot pickled peaches coming to my kitchen soon.

Mushroom Croquet

We almost resisted the daily catch of Korean Halibut thinking the fish might be overpowered but I’m updating this to the best halibut dish we’ve had this year.


I need an annual trip to Tofino. The solitude and connection to nature combined with the great food and wonderful people make this a very special place. Don’t tell anyone.

Tofino 2020 Day One

Tofino is my favourite place to relax but we’ve been doing a lot of travelling the last few years and it just didn’t fit in. With this summer’s travel restrictions we’ve returned and even with the worst smoke imaginable I’ve taken a big breath out over the Pacific and am in my happy place. My soul is not only nourished by the ocean and forest, out here at the end of the road is great food. Specifically great seafood.

We had the the essential reservations on the first ferry out of Horseshoe Bat at 6:30am so we could get two meals in our first day.

Look Up at Coombs Country Store

Coombs Country store is a good 1st stop with everything you could need and a few things more. If the goats aren’t on the roof walk back further behind the buildings and see their home down a ravine.

First meal, lunch at Wildside Grill for fish and chips. The halibut and cod were perfect, panko crusted and as fresh as could be. The fries were okay and the slaw a waste of tummy space. I’ve never tried the fish tacos there but they were popular and looked good. I really have to stay longer next time.

We’re staying at The Long Beach Lodge, one of the best cabin set ups available. We booked months ago specifically for the dog friendly cabins and beach. We sadly no longer needed that option and it’s a bit sad walking to the beach without Topsail but Its still great option with 2 bedrooms and 2 baths. Check in could be as late as 5 and check out is 10 but they try to get you in early and we were lucky and got settled and out to the beach to work on our appetites for dinner at Sobo.

Sobo has been a family favourite for years. We once ate 3 meals there in 24 hours just to try all of the great choices. The menu hasn’t changed much which made me happy on one hand and a bit disappointed in a way. They sure maintain great standards though. The smoked salmon chowder and corn bread are still delicious and David said the tofu pocket was his favourite thing. I’m sorry I didn’t have it because I still like the Killer Fish Taco but I’ve been spoiled with handmade soft shell corn tortillas so the crispy shell just didn’t do it for me. All that delicious salmon and fruit salsa needs something more flexible to gather it all in.

We had the Cibolo Shrimp and I think the cayenne overpowered the tequila and the shrimp. I didn’t get 100% support on that opinion but I’m sure I’m the better judge.

Another family favourite was the polenta fries. Sobo is the 1st place we’d ever tasted them and never had a meal there after without. They are still delicious but a bit shorter than in the past. Every restaurant has to cover new expenses today so I’m glad it’s portion size rather than quality that’s been adjusted.

Polenta Fries

I tasted the shrimp pizza and that nicely done with a thin crisp crust, pumpkin seed pesto, cherry tomatoes, basil and cheese.

I was disappointed to find them out of oysters.

Overall I think the Sobo lunch or happy hour menu is best for me because I want the cornmeal crusted and the broiled oysters and I think they are often sold out by dinner.

Sobo is large enough to keep a good distance from others with some outdoor tables. There’s an outdoor fireplace that wasn’t lit but would have made a welcome addition to the tables and waiting area at the entrance.