Thursday, September 26, 2013

Kombucha aids digestion. So does walnut liqueur.

The team at MARKET by Jean-Georges at the Shangri-La hotel selected the Antica Distillerai Russo Nocino Walnut Liqueur to cap off a fabulous recent media evening featuring a Harvest Tasting Menu.
The incredibly smooth spirit accompanied a delicate "French toast" spiced with rum alongside apples, raisins, and brown-butter ice cream. 
MARKET by Jean-Georges is the first restaurant in Canada for the three-star Michelin chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.The night was a chance to meet the restaurant's new chef de cuisine, Montgomery Lau, and general manager, David Auer.
Got guests coming to town or want to impress a new date? The place will knock your socks off.
Lau served up tuna tartare with bonito crispy tapioca, Dungeness black-pepper crab fritters with Asian pear and endive, pan-seared sea bream with corn chanterelles and silky carrot, and a beautiful, thick lamb chip topped with mushroom Bolognese sauce and Pecorino.
Hot tip: the resto offers a 50-minute prix-fixe power lunch, where $29 gets you your choice of two plates plus dessert. Some options: warm asparagus salad with avocado and mushroom and Hollandaise sauce, seared scallops with a carrot-raisin emulsion and caramelized cauliflower, and steelhead salmon with basil and a sweet-and-sour carrot sauce. Dessert: with four to choose from, I'd have to go with the banana-cream pie.
And I don't care how good kombucha is for you or your colon (though it's said to be very); If I were to order a digestif, it'd have be that walnut liqueur.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Reunited. Bread and I.

Well, I tried the low-carb thing and the gluten-free thing. I tried it because I thought it might help me obliterate my mummy tummy, this abdominal goitre I've been carrying around for about about eight years and five months now.
It didn't work: I didn't lose any weight.
Let me stress that there are millions of people out there who need to avoid gluten for health reasons. Those with celiac disease, IBS, and other chronic conditions have found great relief by cutting out that single ingredient.
But I just thought I could jump in the band wagon and take off a few pounds. And after several months of avoiding bread, toast, bagels, croissants, and pasta, dammit, I'm having a sandwich for lunch. (I also enjoyed my garlicky lemon-basil spaghettini last night, recipe courtesy Rachel Ray, along with some tender halibut).
It's important to realize that cutting out gluten or carbs is not a sure-fire way to shed pounds, especially given how wildly popular the whole craze has become.
And even though you can buy gluten-free everything these days, some experts are calling into question the benefits of the so-called Wheat Belly diet.
Time magazine recently published a story called the "The dangers of going gluten-free", and I covered the issue in the Georgia Straight in an article called "Gluten-free movement growing amid controversy".
If you do approach the diet as a means to lose weight, be careful. Avoid overeating things like almonds and cheese. And be sure you're getting enough fibre and nutrients.
Of course, it's not a good idea to overload on the carbs, either. If you're having a sandwich, try it open-faced. If you love pasta with or for dinner, cut back the portions. Have a single piece of toast for breakfast instead of two, a half rather than a full bagel.
Everything in moderation, even moderation, right?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Chick peas with fresh herbs and pecorino cheese

This is my new favourite go-to snack or light meal.
Toss in a bowl a bunch of chick peas, some olive oil, some freshly squeezed lemon juice, a ton of fresh herbs--whatever you have on hand; basil, parsley, chives, dill; anything goes--some minced garlic, and some freshly grated pecorino cheese.
You've got a quick, delicious, nutritious little dish.
I try to avoid buying canned chick peas--BPA--but have gotten into the habit of soaking then cooking big batches and freezing them in large freezer bags. That way you'll always have some on hand, which is especially fab for week-night meals. Toss some with some noodles and your favourite sauce or pan fry them with mixed peppers, onion, basil, olive oil, and balsamic vinaigrette.
another salad idea: toss chick peas with roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, capers, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar, with a little salt and pepper to taste.
Full of goodness.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Finding ways to reduce food waste

Later today,  the U.S.-based Food Tank is livestreaming an event called Food Waste Free NYC taking place at the Big Apple's the Snapple Theater. Many of the world's leading experts will be on hand to talk about solutions that are being developed around the world to prevent food loss and waste. You can TUNE IN HERE (and join the discussion using #FoodTankNYC).

According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted globally each year.

According to recent U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates, roughly 133 billion pounds of food from stores, restaurants, and homes is wasted in the U.S. each year.

In the U.K., up to 30 percent of vegetables never leave the farm because they don’t meet the aesthetic standards of supermarkets.

In Latin America, average food waste amounts to more than 200 kilograms per person per year.

Over 60 percent of the carbon footprint of food waste can be attributed to Asia and North Africa.

Australian consumers throw away up to 20 percent of all food that they buy.

With an annual value of approximately US$4 billion, 10-20 percent of Africa's grain harvest is lost after the harvest – and that amount is enough to feed 48 million people.

Food for thought.

Work out in the morning so you can drink wine at lunch

Easier said than done, of course. Work tends to get in the way of fitness and food adventures. But as I learned yesterday a wine-y meal mid-day does not encourage high-intensity cardio later on.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Hilarious article (by someone else) about shopping at Whole Foods (which I love). Namaste.

Welcome! The world needs another food blog about as much as we need to see more pork belly and bone marrow on restaurant menus.

So what makes this one different?
It's geared to those who obsess over food but who are health-conscious, too.
I really don't like the word "foodie"--it sounds so pretentious--but I most definitely qualify. I pore over menus hours before going to a new restaurant, think about what to make for dinner at breakfast, and spend whatever money I have far more enthusiastically and willingly on food than on whatever the latest fashions are.
I write restaurant reviews for Vancouver's Georgia Straight newspaper, Canada's largest independent news and entertainment weekly.
I also teach group fitness classes. It's the best hobby I've ever taken up. But I could still do more to take care of my body and my soul.
Here I'll share news and tips on all things related to food, wine, health, and fitness. Put all of those together and you've got my interpretation of "living the good life".
To your health!