Kitchen Essentials for the Bachelor’s Kitchen

There’s nothing more frustrating than not having the right tools to do a job.

For those of you wanting to spend more time creating meals in your kitchen, here’s a good primer on The Kitchen Bachelor’s essential cookware and kitchenware to stock your drawers and cupboards:dream kitchen?

  1. Pots – I like having both a medium and large sized pot (one for general use and another to make stock, stews, chilli, soups, etc.)
  2. Pans – if you have the money, spring for a cast-iron, if not at least a good quality stainless steel and a non-stick.
  3. Chef’s knife – really, you need something sharp
  4. Paring knife – for pealing
  5. Oven mitts
  6. Wooden spoons
  7. Slotted spoon
  8. Vegetable peeler
  9. Can opener
  10. Strainer
  11. Oil bottles – nothing more annoying than pouring too much oil and having to dump out oil – get yourself a bottle with a spout
  12. Salt cup – I prefer to have my salt in a little cup that has a lid, rather than using a shaker – which tends to build moisture if you’re shaking over a steaming pan or pot; also gives you greater control on quantity.
  13. Pepper grinder – everyone needs fresh ground pepper
  14. Zester/Grater – for lime/lemon zest and grating cheese
  15. Whisk – to impress your date with meringue or some baked goods
  16. Metal bowls – I use these general purpose bowls for everything from marinating meats to mixing salads
  17. Decanter – aerate your good wines at least 3 hours before serving
  18. Coffee grinder – not only to grind your fresh coffee beans, but also to grind up pesto sauces or curry mixes
  19. Air-tight containers – I use these vacuum-seal containers to store various spices and coffee beans

Some ideas on where to shop for cookware in Vancouver:

  1. Dunleavy Food Equipment – This warehouse on 7th and Manitoba is catered to those in the food business, but it’s open to the public and you can save yourself a few dollars by purchasing at wholesale prices.
  2. Ming Wo – I’ve picked up some good deals on contemporary square bowls that have always received great compliments.
  3. The Gourmet Warehouse – Hastings – good selection of stuff
  4. Home Sense – good deals on named-brand stuff

3 days in Vancouver with the Kitchen Bachelor

For those of you who’ve been fortunate or unfortunate enough to be on an Air Canada flight, you may have come across their “enRoute” in-flight magazine.  I’ve always enjoyed reading the feature called “3-days in [fill in exotic city here]”.  If you’re a jet-setter and have experienced a layover in Barcelona, Sao Paolo or Paris, you may have taken advantage of enRoute’s recommendations.  However, if you’re the average commuter on United, your story is probably about being stuck in a snow-storm in Fargo, North Dakota.

Vancouver is no Fargo.  In fact, being my home-town and being a foodie – I’ve been tasked many a time to provide an itinerary for out-of-town guests, co-workers and even strangers.  Since my specialty is food, I thought I’d write my own little enRoute blog post about “3 days in Vancouver with the Kitchen Bachelor”.

 

Day 1

4pm - Friday - YVR Airport

Take note of Vancouver tax-dollars at work as you come through the international gates and witness the soothing sounds of first-nations music, first-nations scultures, chirping birds and some sort of water dripping.  Find a washroom – quick.

5pm - Downtown Vancouver

Hopefully you didn’t smuggle anything into customs and weren’t given the glove welcome to Canada, eh?  You jumped on the Canada Line train and made it to downtown Vancouver in 25 minutes – amazing, right?  Check into hotel of choice.  Celebrity spotting at Sutton Place Hotel is common.  Westin Bayshore or Fairmont Waterfront for views. Opus Hotel in Yaletown district for funky and beautiful people.

7pm - Cocktails

Uva wine bar (900 Seymour), Earl’s Restaurants (905 Hornby) or Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel Lobby (1038 Canada Place).

9pm - Dinner Options
  1. Chambar: Belgian cuisine with Moroccan influence; the chef  traveled through Morocco.  Try the lamb tagine – it’ll make you squeal – ok maybe not.  Great belgian beer list and great mussels as well. They have a great bottle of red called Pirramimma Petit Verdot from McLaren Vale – 70 big ones but damn! Resos at least a week in advance to be safe.
  2. Adesso bistro: Northern Italian cuisine – tucked in a cosy tree-lined residential street in the West-End of downtown. Great seafood appes; delicious pastas; fresh ingredients.
  3. La faux bourgeois: Cool French bistro with dark wooden bar; authentic and warm; servers are French-ish.  Make resos in advance.
1130pm - You're still up?

Call it a night – you know you’re not exactly looking that chipper after a day of travel and all that great food in your belly.  But if you’re loco, head out to Granville Street for some revelry with 20 year olds.

Day 2

9am - Rise and shine breakie.
  1. Café Medina: Sister restaurant to Chambar.  If you went there for dinner last night and don’t mind heading back to the same area.  Belgian waffles, I hear, are amazing.  I can’t believe I haven’t been there.
  2. Café Barney – 2 locations – Main street and Granville street.  Great egg-benes, breakfast burrito and non-stop strong coffee.
  3. Urban Fare – pricey grocer but good people-gazing.  A few different locations around town.
1030am - Sights and Sounds

Walk Commercial Drive – ethnic district. Rent bikes and bike around Stanley Park seawall – 10 km. Shopping on 4th avenue in Kitsilano.  Sun at Kitsilano Beach.  Take water-taxi to Granville Island.

1pm - Hunger strikes
  1. Go-Fish!: if you made it to Granville Island, check out the fish and chip shack on the south-west side of the entrance to Granville Island along the seawall.  Ask around if you can’t find it.  Fish tacos, fish & chips wrapped in newspaper, seafood chowder – all good.
  2. Japadog – famous Japanese hot dog stand endorsed by Anthony Bourdain.  A few stands around town, but a bricks-and-mortar restaurant has opened up on Robson street as well.
  3. Sushi – Vancouver probably has as many Sushi restaurants as Starbucks.  How can you go wrong with fresh Pacific seafood?  It’s hard to go wrong but some places I visit are Honjin and Shizenya.  Stay away from all-you-can-eat sushi – come on, man!
3pm - Repeat 1030am options or nap

Yeah, that’s right.  You’re on vacation.  Have a nap. You don’t have to be 2 or 70.

455pm - "...we interrupt your regularly scheduled programming for"

If you’re interested in an early dinner, scroll down to tonight’s dinner options and go to Vij’s.  As my mum would say – there’s no time for dilly-dally here – after 5pm you’re waiting in a 2 hour queue.

6pm - Cocktail time again

Repeat from last night or try a different location.

730pm - Dinner options
  1. Wild Rice – for a little off-the-beaten track venture on the edge of Chinatown and Gastown, check out Wild Rice. Owner Andrew Wong does my people right – yes I said it, my people.  Modern Asian food with creative cocktails at a fair price – what’s not to like.
  2. Vij’s: Indian fusion. One of Vancouver’s best known chefs. No resos allowed.
  3. Mis Trucos: Mediterranean tapas in what looks like someone’s living room.  Great wine list and date spot.
930pm - Live music, anyone?
  1. Libre Room – Commerical Drive, funky ethnic district with live music sets every night.  Check out your featured cocktail based on your horoscope.
  2. Fairmont Pacific Rim – see cocktail options from Day 1.

Day 3

10am - Advil for the headache

If you partied it up the night before, you may need an Advil before breakfast.  But if you’re good to go, perhaps lace up your sneakers and go for a run on the Vancouver seawall.  Options include Yaletown, Coal-Harbour, or Kitsilano.

12pm - Lunch or see ya later

Make it out to one of the myriad restaurants you may have missed or catch the Canada-Line out of town.

We hope you enjoyed your 3 days in Vancouver with the Kitchen Bachelor.  Fresh seafood, international cuisine and a picturesque city with mountains in the backdrop.  Not bad for a layover?

Naramata-Inspired Meal

Naramata, BC is a slice of heaven that many British Columbians may not know about. As spring roles around, I can’t help but think of road trips and visits to wineries. I’m no expert in viticulture – but the sun, the lake and the land really does make for magic in a bottle.

Last summer, I ventured out with a few friends to Naramata with our bikes in tow. Please do yourself a favour and check out the numerous B&B’s that are in the area. One I recommend is The Copper Goose B & B, run by a lovely couple by the name of Carolle and Gerhard.

Blessed by the Okanagan climate and Inspired by my trip to Naramata, BC this summer, this meal is perfect for your at-home dinner date:

Wine
~Lake Breeze’s Bench White Wine

Starter
~grapes, Okanagan cherries and goat-cheese

Main
~Jumbo-prawns, grape-tomatoes and rice penne – topped with freshly-grated parm

Great Fall Day for the Farmers Market

I was in the west-end this Saturday and decided to stop in at the Farmers Market. I had to share this photo of these amazing green zebra tomatoes that were on display! Amazing right? Bought some mini white eggplants and carrots for lamb stew, served with a bottle of Marechal Foch from Lang Vineyards in the Okanagan. Check out my next post for more about wine.

Next Saturday (October 23) is the last day for the summer season. Head out there to support local farmers!