Wednesday, October 21, 2020


 The Glass House Winery

The huge winery all by itself on "0"  Ave the road that separates Canada from the USA. The winery was originally opened by Arthur and Ingrid de Jong. Arthur owned a company that build glasshouse houses for farmers.

The de Jongs ran a very successful business with high quality wines. Joseph Richard Group has taken over the wineries operations in 2019 Under the agreement, the de Jong family will continue to own the property, while JRG operates the vineyard and winery.

Barbara and along with a friend visited the winery in early October. Besides a few more picnic tables we could not see ant changes since our previous visits.

Since the JRG owns and operates a number of restaurants throughout the lower mainland. I was expecting a better menu. However, the Crab dip, flatbread and charcuterie plate were all good.

As for the wines the Stellatus Brut Cuvee was very good the 2019 Bacchus amazing.




Saturday, October 3, 2020

 


Dining at Burrowing Owl Winery

All good things must come to an end, on our final night in the Okanagan we decided on dinner at  Burrowing Owl Estate Winery in Oliver. We booked at the winery over a week in advance of our trip but we could only get a 7;00 pm reservation proving balcony dining is popular during COVID 

We arrived a few minutes early and had to sit in the lobby of Sonora room until 7:20 before being seated on the deck.  I thought the restaurant could have seated us in the indoor section and offered a small glass of wine, or at least the opportunity to order a glass while we waited. We ended up with a very nice table in the corner.

In these times we do not blame the restaurant for the wait. However, the people who have finished dining and paid their bill should be aware that there is limited seating and should move along so the establishment can attempt to make a profit.


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 We had a limited time to enjoy the view before darkness settled in.  If you look at the photograph at the top, the Sonora Room is located on the left side, second floor. We sat in the corner on the far left.

Our server was proficient, with excellent communication skills. The meal itself was outstanding, beef rib eye with sautéed mushrooms, wilted summer greens, parmesan-truffle polenta croutons, peppercorn sauce and the wine a 2018 Merlot, wonderful. It was a very enjoyable meal topped off by a couple of desserts. Rose and peach “Ile flottante”, soft-baked meringue, Calliope Gewürztraminer poached peaches, nut crumble and chocolate pâté, salted caramel, cocoa crumble, mint ice cream for dessert.

We had a most enjoyable time, a stupendous way to end our Okanagan trip.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020


 Zias Stonehouse Restaurant
14015 Rosedale Ave, Summerland, BC V0H 1Z0

We did not consider our Okanagan Vacation officially started until we were dining at Zias in Summerland. The restaurant exceeded our expectations. We were four very hungry and tired travellers.

Zias provides a varied menu, including pasta, seafood, steak and a very impressive wine list. The prices were lower than expected.

The restaurant was the original home of  Alfredo Biagione built-in 1916. The cosy home style design of the interior was very relaxing and intriguing featuring numerous family photographs. The home was purchased by Shannon and Claude Ferlizza who transferred the home into Zias opening in 1998.

 Our server Val was a bundle of joy. Social distancing protocols all in place (our server removed her mask for the photograph). Val has worked at the restaurant for 20 years!

I began my meal with a glass of Van Westen viognier 2018. It was so good I ordered a second glass.




Among my favourite dishes are French Onion Soup, Beef Dip and Pecan pie. Imagine my delight when I saw all three on the menu.


Check out the portion size. Delicious!!

Yum


Thank you Zias it was a very memorable experience!

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Small is Good!

 


Passion and Hardwork

The wonderful world of wine is expanding around the world. Countries that never before produced wine or even thought they could are planting vineyards and growing grapes. In North America the expansion is amazing. Everyone is serving wine.

In Canada, major companies like Arterra Wines Canada and Andrew Peller Ltd are expanding from Nova Scotia to British Columbia. However, it is the small family winery that impresses me the most. Wineries like Niche Wine Company in West Kelowna.

The small family winery is owned by Joanne and James Schlosser, They had a dream, they saw the potential of the land.  With their passion, desire and hard work, they produce wines they can be proud of.


Joanne is the creative director for the winery she is the homemaker and mother of their son Hugh and holds down a third job working at another winery.

James is the winemaker. He received his Master's degree in Oenology and Viticulture from Brock University in Niagara.

James says the hardest thing about owning a small winery is all the multitasking! My responsibilities include everything from winemaking to financial planning to government reporting. The good news is, I’m also responsible for quality control and that is a job I take very seriously.

A must-try wine is their 2018 unfiltered Pinot Noir! Also, look for their 2018 Foch.

The winery is located at 1901 Bartley Road on the west side of Highway 97


Friday, August 21, 2020

Forest Fires

 

It is real, it is dangerous it is a continuous threat to the wineries of the Okanagan and the people who live there. (We can not write this blog without praying for those in California who have suffered greatly from forest fires.)

Hubertus Estate Winery which was built in the 1930's, is the Okanagan's most resilient winery.   The Okanagan Mountain forest fire ripped through the property on August 22  2003, destroying the winery and a 1932 house that was the home of Leo Gebert and wife Barbara, one of the families that own St Hubertus. The winery recovered with the help of neighbours, nearby wineries and friends.

17 years the threat of fire still exists for the Okanagan wineries. Today, Aug 21, 2020, as I write this blog a fire rages along the east side of Lake Shaka between Penticton and Okanagan Falls.

Numerous homes are endangered, one already lost, evacuations necessary in an already troubled time. Wineries such as Painted Rock and Blasted Church are closed taking a safety-first approach. Owner John Skinner says he will stay closed for a few more days as the road leading to the winery is used by emergency vehicles and fire truck fighting the fires.

Sadly 68% of all fires in the region are reported to be started by humans. 

The wine region under threat at Skaha Lake is the Skaha Sub Gi

Currently, the winds are not blowing the smoke towards the vineyards.

A tip of the hat to all forest firefighters!


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

The Dudes Coffee House

 The Dudes Coffee House

Don't let the name, the size, or the racks full of bamboo clothing fool you, step inside and experience culinary delights that will have you coming back for more. Barbara noticed a post by our White Rock friend Corry about a coffee house she had enjoyed visiting in Ocean Park. Once the COVID-19 rules were relaxed we decided to make it a mission to visit the White Rock-Ocean Park-Crescent Beach coffee houses.  On August 4th after a pleasant walk on the sandbars in White Rock I suggested that we see if we could find Dudes, Barbara was all for it.

We were a bit confused by the storefront; when you first look at the building you see what looks like a clothing retail store with a couple of wood tables outside. But thanks to Corry we knew a coffee shop lurked somewhere in the interior.

Barbara headed for a clothing sales rack just outside the door. I continued on inside to be greeted with a smile and a friendly hello. I soon found myself sipping coffee and chatting with the owners Kerry and Larry Kristof while my lovely wife browsed.  When Barb joined me I learned I was the recipient of a bamboo shirt, I have hemp lounge wear but nothing in the bamboo line.

The hospitality was delightful and the coffee good, so good, we had second cups and purchased a bag to take home. I spotted a sign advertising Beef Dip , those of you who know me, know my fondness for beef dips; I am considered an expert on them. Larry boldly stated his prime rib beef dip is the absolute best but only served on Friday and Saturdays.

We returned Saturday to test Larry's bold claim! Once again we were warmly greeted by Kelly, Larry and staff. We settled in a window table with freshly brewed coffee, waiting with anticipation for Larry's famous (according to him) Beep Dip; I was convinced that no-one could knock my favourite  Beef Dip restaurant off the top of the list.

Wow, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious amazing! Mouthwatering flavours proved Larry's bold claims to be true! Barbara (who can take them or leave them) said it was the best beef dip she ever tasted and became a convert. I offered no argument!

Larry came by our table to see what we thought of the meal, during the course of the conversation he mentioned he had received a delivery of White Rock crab the night before, and Crab Benedicts were going to be on Sunday's menu. Barbara almost fell off her chair, and immediately requested a table reservation for Sunday; she grew up in White Rock and remembers vividly walking out at low tide with her sisters to pick them up for her mother to use.

Sunday morning found us back at The Dudes Coffee House chatting with other customers while we waited for our meals.  Not a seafood lover, I went for the Brunch Omelette.


Once again Larry did not disappoint, he actually surpassed expectations! My omelette was simply the best ever, sorry Grandma. Barbara definitely enjoyed her Crab Benny, and will be back for more of the same before the season for crab is over.

So let me summarize this little hidden gem located at 1558 128 Street, Ocean Park It's unique, owner owned and operated, hospitality is top-notch, and the food amazing, check it out! BTW the bamboo shirt purchased on our first visit is A+



Sunday, August 2, 2020





Early Supper at Jan's on the Beach

On a hot day in July, Barbara and I decided to take a walk along the beach in White Rock. The small city where we live borders on Semiahmoo Bay and the 49th parallel,  a short distance away lies the United States mainland.

After strolling along the shoreline we ventured along Marine Drive with its numerous restaurants and shops. We walked past Jan's on the Beach which is one of Barbara's favourite restaurants and where she takes friends who are celebrating birthdays.  I spotted a sign that said Wednesday wine bottles half price, that was more than enough to get me in the door!

We chose a table on the patio with a view of the bay and pier. Jan's is well-known for it's glutton-free fish and chips and onion rings, and what is Barb's favourite, beet salad. This time she went for a caesar  salad with a skewer of shrimp, (the special of the day,) I settled on the fish and chips.

Our server was cheerful and very mindful with the health rules of the times due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  We were socially distanced and she wore a mask.

Time to make the major decision of the day, what wine will we have? There was a good selection of both reds and whites.  Barb, normally a red wine fancier came over to my side this time.


We decided upon the Saxon Pinot Grigio 2019. Saxon is located in Summerland a small town in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley. It was refreshing, smooth and full of nice citrus and honeydew flavours.

We enjoyed our early supper, sipped the wine and watched the foot traffic on the Drive.  A lovely finish to a lovely day in paradise!