“People who love to eat are always the best people.” – Julia Child
Behold the feast placed before me. Sticky-sweet finger-licking ribs. Perfectly grilled smokey eggplant and zucchini. Home-made capicola with the just right balance of fat, salt, fresh seasonings and meaty texture. Flavourful roasted eggplant and peppers itching to be topped on fresh bread. Chicken kebabs, juicy and tender. Freshly steamed lobster, oh so succulent and sweet. And enough wine and alcohol to subsist us for days.
These friends o’ mine are kind, cool and definitely ‘the best people.’ The spread was scrumptious and exquisite, mouth-watering and heavenly. It was fun and it was satisfying. And it was definitely the best thing I ate this month.
”Norman, you need to learn how to cook because when you grow up you may marry someone who cannot cook.”
The passage of time had proven Nonna Pia correct. Her son Norm ended up marrying Natasha who is great at many things—cooking not being one of them. Because of Nonna Pia’s insightful wisdom, Chef Norm named his company in homage to his beloved mother, which is how “Nonna Pia’s Gourmet Sauces” came to be.
Chef Norm imports balsamic vinegar to his Whistler, BC facility from Modena, Italy. There, it is infused with fresh fruit and herbs and steeped in 100 gallon steam kettles for up to 12 hours. Nonna Pia’s Balsamic Reductions are gluten-free and do not contain caramel, thickening agents or starches. The thick consistency and intense flavour is arrived at by removing the moisture from the vinegar.
I’m seldom this grumpy. Really, I’m not. I worship restaurateurs and chefs who push limits and thrill us with their passion and unique take on food. But then there are those who shamelessly copy, imitate and take something that was once highly original, misuse it and render it impotent and outdated. Here are eight tired restaurant trends that were once great, but must now be shown the door.
Small plates What’s going on here? It’s not OK to charge $16 for three minuscule meatballs even if they are made of sustainably raised elk and locally foraged fungi. Tapas and Dim Sum? You get a pass. You’re a well-oiled machine honed over centuries. But it seems that the all-appetizer phenomenon’s raison d’être is to charge an ungodly amount for mere morsels. And sometimes (most times), I’m hungry and I don’t want to share. There are many eateries that elevate small plates to an art form—bravo to them! But to everyone else, please hop on another (and preferably larger) bandwagon.
Mason jar cups I get the whole reduce-reuse-recycle business but having to sip my over-priced cocktail in a vessel meant for grandma’s apricot jelly is all kinds of wrong. I doubt this is what Scottish farmer John Landis Mason had in mind when he patented his food preservation container in 1858. Here’s wishing that this trend ends now so that I never have to drink from a pickle jar when a regular glass will suffice.
Bistro-chic decor Reclaimed wood, exposed light bulbs, chalkboards and plastic moulded Eames chairs. It’s hip, cool, edgy and groovy and it’s been copycatted to nauseating extremes. Labouring to read dodgy calligraphy off of a smeared chalkboard menu is not hip. Having to rest my tuckus on a backbreaking alibi for a chair is not cool. Being bathed in the blinding glow of an uncovered light fixture is not edgy. Eating off a barn door to feign a mod rustic ambiance is not groovy. As for the next trend in restaurant design, I’m hoping for daring AND functional. This bistro-chic decor just makes me weary.