The 2010 Winter Olympics begin February 12 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Our Canadian neighbors are poised to make visitors feel welcome, and hotels and restaurants are ready with exceptional deals and dishes. Even bars are concocting drinks that to entice patrons.
The metropolitan Vancouver area has more than two million people and a host of diverse and exciting gastronomic offerings. As a multicultural city with both Asian and European influences, the dining decisions will be difficult, unless ticketholders abandon the games and spend all of their time experiencing culinary ecstasy.
Hmmmm. Ice skating or eating? Not an easy decision. (Which would you choose?)
Eating Choices Abound
Vancouver’s geographic proximity to the ocean as well as to a well-respected wine-growing region allows its culinary experts to draw upon both of these assets to develop unique menus. The city also boasts some highly rated restaurants, including Vij’s, which has been lauded by the New York Times as one of the best Indian eateries in the world. Serving locally grown food, seasoned with hand milled herbs and spices, the Indian fusion cuisine is nothing short of spectacular. Dinner is begins at 5 p.m. nightly for the duration of the Olympics. No reservations are accepted, so plan to get in line early.
Sample Some of British Columbia’s Finest
Looking for a total taste of British Columbia? Then try Vancouver’s Salmon House, which provides diners with a breathtaking view of the city and also prepares succulent dishes made from local ingredients. Their salmon chowder, barbecued salmon and classic apple cobbler are all top sellers. Chef Dave Jorgensen also offers A Taste of British Columbia, which is perfect if you only have limited time to experience Vancouver dining. The tasting menu is available with or without wine pairings. Reservations are available online. (If you’re looking for other places, check out what people have said on FriendsEAT).
Try Some Poutine.
Often called the national dish of Canada, poutine will be plentiful in Vancouver during the Olympics. The combination of extra-crispy french fries, meaty gravy and cheese curds originated in Québec, but the dish migrated west and is a popular snack after engaging in an evening of serious drinking (In New Jersey, diners serve up Poutine as Disco Fries).
Speaking of Drinking
And speaking of drinks … several of the Olympic hotels developed alcoholic specials to honor the winter games. Try the “Triple Lutz” at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler’s Mallard Lounge. The all-Canadian ingredients include Victoria gin, Ontario ice wine and Newfoundland Crystal Head vodka. For a beverage with more punch, check out the bar at the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver. Their “Silver” alcoholic extrvaganza is a spicy blend of buffalo jerky-infused vodka, homemade clam and tomato juice, chili peppers and horseradish. (Maalox not included.)
Visitors to Vancouver will enjoy all of the eclectic and international cuisine available in this cosmopolitan Canadian city. So if you’re lucky enough to snare tickets for any of the events, be sure to factor in some time for food!
Interested in trying some poutine? Here’s an easy recipe.
2 cups of beef gravy (make your own or use canned)
6 medium red potatoes, cut into strips for fries
2 cups cheese curds **
Canola oil (for frying)
** If you can’t find authentic cheese curds, you can substitute cottage cheese, fresh mozzarella balls or shredded cheddar cheese.
Heat oil in a deep fryer or deep heavy skillet to 365°F.
Warm gravy in saucepan or microwave.
Place the fries into the hot oil, and cook until light brown, about 5 minutes.
Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
Place the fries on a serving platter, and sprinkle the cheese over them.
Ladle gravy over the fries and cheese, and serve immediately.
* * *