Food-wise, yesterday was a mixed bag. I was in a high-end restaurant, deli, and coffee shop all within six hours. No time for the gym, unfortunately, though I seriously could have used it.
An unexpected perk of this job has been the opportunity to meet visiting food and travel writers (hereby known as fravel writers) while they’re visiting Richmond. I savour each opportunity to learn how their careers took shape and have developed through the years. Since the path to a writing career is far from linear, they always have unique and inspiring stories to share.
Yesterday I dined at Tapenade Bistro with four such lovely people, hailing from England (Niamh), India (Preeti), France (Emilie), and Canada (Trish). Between the four of them, they’ve got every aspect of the food and travel world covered: writing, editing, photography, cooking, recipe development, design, travel-planning, and more. They’re currently adventuring around the province as part of an #explorecanada campaign put on by Tourism Canada. Throughout the month of September, they’ve been showing off this big ol’ country of ours through the eyes of international bloggers. Pretty coooool!
Besides being great conversationalists, there’s another sweet thing about fravel writers; they know how to eat.
We were treated to four seasonal tasting plates at Tapenade, and while I won’t go into too much detail about the restaurant (I’ll be reviewing it later in the year), I still have to share some photos. Eating wonderful food is like seeing a great movie; you can’t not talk about it after. Or at least this chatty cathy can’t.
Here’s what we had:
Roasted Tomato Bisque with tarragon creme fraiche, crouton, crispy prosciutto, olive oil.
Local Sardine ‘Salad’ with classic sauces, pickled vegetables, and soft herbs.
Qualicum Bay Scallop and Pork Belly with apricot mostarda, cherries, pearl onions, Brussels sprouts.
Brome Lake Duck Duo with roasted breast, confit leg, ‘succotash,’ carrot puree, crispy bits.
It was a meal filled with seasonal flavours, and I really enjoyed it. Though the plates weren’t huge, I still needed a break before attempting to fill my belly again. I strolled around Steveston, which was bright and cool yesterday.
I set up my computer at Rocanini for awhile, sipped on a London Fog, and ate a chocolate cookie from The Sweet Spot. I certainly didn’t need the cookie, but I just couldn’t resist. It was black with chocolate and gorgeously thick. Sigh.
After a few hours of work, I was ready to find meal #2. I wanted to eat outside, so I got a BLT and curly fries to go from the Pierside Deli on the harbour front. It’s a small space, serving diner-type food like sandwiches, fries, all-day breakfast, and drinks.
Thinking I hadn’t had bacon in awhile (which is completely wrong, I forgot about my own post with a BACON SLAM POETRY VIDEO just two days ago), I ordered a BLT on whole grain bread. Then, seeing curly fries on the menu, I had to get those too, because curly fries tend to be great. It cost $11.20, and was ready quickly.
Lunch #2 in hand, I walked a block east and sat on a bench along the walkway. Despite a somewhat cloudy sky, the sun found its way to the water and lit it up. I sat with my sandwich, enjoyed the glowing view, and inhaled fresh Autumn air. West coast living, I tell ya.
The fries were nicely seasoned, but less crunchy and hot than I’d hoped for; I think they should have stayed in the fryer for longer. As for the sandwich, it wasn’t any better than I could have made at home for myself, but it did have the Three Essential Elements for a BLT: a generous amount of chewy/crispy bacon, thick slices of tomato, and a generous spread of mayo. And yes, there’s the lettuce too, but it’s less important. People make bacon sandwiches or tomato sandwiches, but who, I ask you WHO would make a lettuce sandwich?
I’m going to take this nerd-fest one step further and say that ideally, the tomato should be in contact with the mayo. I’m not sure if I can technically explain why this must be so, but there’s something uber-satisfying about a fresh tomato slice covered in mayo (in the context of a sandwich, of course. This isn’t something I snack on at home). The main thing that could have been improved upon was the bread; it was just plain old sandwich bread, and I didn’t find it to be substantial enough. I’d have preferred much thicker slices of a higher quality carb – something with a little more ‘umpphhh,’ as they say.
Pierside Deli isn’t a destination spot, but it IS a quick place to grab food if you’re strolling around Steveston. The other item I had my eye on – a bagel with cream cheese, lox, red onion, and capers – would be a great snack to have before renting bikes or whale-watching. Plus they do breakfast, so you can grab your early morning fill without having to sit down to anything too heavy.
Thanks to Niamh, Trish, Preeti, Emilie, Tapenade, Rocanini, and Pierside Deli for a mighty interesting and very filling day! You can find everyone’s info below, and follow the hashtag “#explorecanada” on Twitter to see all their fravel-writing fun in Richmond and BC…..
Cash and cards accepted
Vegetarian options available