8pm, Melville Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Back on the air folks – and we’ve had a top day. We started on Vancouver’s Talk 1410 am The Buzz “Radio for Foodies” with Tony Gismondi (Vancouver Sun wine columnist amongst other things) and Kasey Wilson (restaurant reviewer and travel writer – latest assignment writing up the opening of the new Wynn Encore in Las Vegas). We followed Stuart Irving, the chef from the “Nuevo Latino” restaurant Cobre (in historic Gastown), who was in to have a chat about an event they’re doing tomorrow where they’re blocking off the street for a chilli cook off and blues fest – 15 chillis to taste for $18 and even the local fire department is doing a chilli. Soon as he was off the radio, Stuart was heading for the kitchen to brew up his secret recipe concoction from 6 dried and 2 fresh chillis as well as pineapple – amongst other things! If I wasn’t going to be on a plane to Montreal tomorrow, their block party cook off is where I’d be.
Vancouver has a tremendous wine and food fraternity, and they’ve pretty much taken me under their wing since I came to town 5 years ago with the “Viognier Monologues” event, which was part of the Vancouver Playhouse Wine Fair program that year. Tony and Kasey are part of the “wine & food band of brothers” in town, and getting a berth on their radio show whenever we’re in town is a treat. They’re always well up with what’s happening, and they introduced us to Cafe Medina, in the corner of an old warehouse on Beatty Street, Crosstown, for brunch before the show. The groups of people waiting outside was a good enough endorsement of their choice – and when you see the egg dishes they come up with – you can see what the fuss is about. I’ve put in a photo of the eggs served in the skillet – floating on shredded beef shortrib, melted cheddar and arugula. And I haven’t even started on the topping list for the waffles! Get there early, folks!
It’s always interesting to taste wine “on the air”, and I guess you just have to try and get the flavours and aromas through the wireless using as many colourful words and ideas as you can – and we had a lot of fun doing that this morning with the Patchwork Shiraz and the Scribbler Cabernet Shiraz and Tony and Kasey – who are seriously like an old married couple stand up comedy duo – without trying! Great stuff, and it’s nice to be treated like locals each time we drop out of the sky into town for one day, two days or whatever. Thanks folks, and with any luck we’ll be back in town for the Playhouse Vancouver wine fair next year – shifted back to April with the Winter Olympics being in town earlier.
After the radio show, we went over to North Vancouver to do an in-store tasting for the afternoon at Everything Wine. What a set up! An island tasting bench, proper XL 5 tasting glasses and someone to wash the glasses. Luxury! And we had a lot of folks stop by to taste through several wines, including the Eden Valley Wild Ferment Chardonnay. Interesting thing about this chardonnay is that we get this elegant complexity in the palate from this “relay race” of up to 18 different “wild” yeasts that we get from our vineyards – and if we didn’t use sustainable viticulture practices in the vineyards, and stop spraying pesticides 20 years ago – we wouldn’t have these flourishing numbers of wild yeasts bouncing around the vineyards to run these ferments through, and get this particular result in the wine.We also opened the “little brother, big brother” double double of 2007 Scribbler : 2003 Signature Cabernet Shirazes, and the 2006 Patchwork : 2004 Octavius Shirazes. Nice afternoon out in North Van. We need to say a huge thanks to the folks at the store for looking after us so well, and to Dana Lee for putting us in exactly the right place at the right time in Vancouver! Thanks!
Now sportsfans! The other Australian rules game has been played in Melbourne overnight, and we discover that it will be the Geelong Cats that the St Kilda Saints will be playing in next week’s Grand Final. Now for the uninitiated, Grand Final Week starts tomorrow, and there’s traditionally a program of events that lead into the big game and beyond. So I will be wearing my Saints scarf every day now in support of my boys, and have already sorted out where I’ll be watching the game next Friday night, when I’ll be in Toronto. I finish a consumer tasting at the Summerhill Liquor Store at 8pm, then it will be across town for me to the official “14th Annual AFL Grand Final Party” hosted by the Downtown Dingos Australian Rules football club, at The Sports Centre Cafe, 49 Clair Avenue West, celebration starts 9pm, game starts 11pm. So any St Kilda supporters in Toronto – meet you there. This could be our first premiership since 1966 – far too long between drinks for me!
And for the record – in the Adelaide Hills league grand finals – A and B Grade – played yesterday in Lobethal, it’s my great pleasure to let you know that the Uraidla Redlegs (yes, locally known as the Cabbage Cutters) swept the lot! I just got a phone call from my little brother (who played for the B Grade) from the Uraidla pub where they’re still celebrating. On the Sunday afternoon! Good luck to them all, it’s been a long time between flags for those boys as well – and to my big brother, who coaches the B grade – well done big fella!
Now I have to go pack so I can grab a sleep in tomorrow morning before heading to the airport for the 11am aeroplane across the country to Montreal. Have a good rest of the weekend, and I’ll see you when we’re in Quebec.