Delving into Nanaimo’s Downtown Friday Market

Spring is in the air and to us Flirty Foodies this delightful time of year ushers in severe hay fever, but also and more importantly the kickoff to farmers market season!  Nanaimo’s farmers market season is in full bloom signaling the arrival of farm fresh produce, baked goods, meats, dairy, and preserves.  We adore markets because they hone in on our natural female shopaholic tendencies.  The very act of choosing what to enjoy is a thing of gratification, a kind of foreplay to the actual act of eating.  Recently, we had the opportunity to check out the Downtown Friday Farmers Market in the Pioneer Waterfront Plaza, and we met with many of the vendors. We take you through the best bites this vibrant scene has to offer.

Basket of Habanaro, Jalapeneo, and starflame peppers

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Eating Out: The Nest Bistro

When a little birdie told us that there were two talented chefs serving some serious food out of a small bistro in the Old City Quarter, we knew we had to investigate.

The Nest Bistro is owned and operated by chefs Nicolas Braun and Jennifer Ash.  The pair offer Pacific Northwest fare with French and Italian influences leaving their mark on every plate.  Hailing from Vancouver, the pair settled in Nanaimo after realizing the location and size were just right for their prospective restaurant.  Their joint efforts have produced a cozy and intimate space with an inviting atmosphere to match.  The modest decor plays on their namesake with birds, feathers and branches accentuating the simple but elegant layout.  Teal tables line a leather bench and chairs, with bright counter seating along the window.
As it was past noon, we were able to justify a glass of the house white each as we ruminated over their understated but enticing lunch menu.  With tantalizing choices like their signature Seafood Trio with crab cake, filo prawns and a tian of baby shrimp cocktail and comforting baked Jenny Mac we knew we had difficult decisions ahead.  Our cheerful server asked if either of us had any food allergies prior to taking our order, a considerate gesture which we appreciated. Continue reading

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Fab Food Photo of the Week: Red Snapper Pescadillas

If your wondering right now ‘what the heck are pescadillas?’ you are not alone! We ordered them out of curiosity because A) red snapper is delicious and B) we could not resist the alluring element of mystery.  After a little research we discovered that pescadillas are essentially a fish taco rolled up and served with salsa verde…and tastes like heaven on earth! If you’d like to try them out for yourself, head down to Penny’s Palapa in Nanaimo’s Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s easily the best Mexican food in town (if you don’t count our own kitchen that is).  They serve up killer Margaritas made with fresh squeezed lime juice which are very hard to resist. And since Penny’s located on the waterfront down town it’s also the best spot in town to sit back and enjoy those warm summer days. We can’t think of a better way to spend a sunny afternoon!

Whats your favourite Mexican dish? Post your answers below!

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1 Month Blogaversary Comment Contest

The Flirty Foodie is celebrating its 1 month blogaversary…can you believe it?! The response in our first month has been overwhelming! A big thank you to all of our readers and to everyone who has helped share the love by spreading the word. We are kicking off the festivities with an awesome contest announcement!

We are loving all of the great feedback we have been getting from our readers and we want to hear more! Leave a comment on any of the posts on our website listed below, answering the question at the end or giving your thoughts on the topic, and you will be entered to win this wonderful artisan sea salt gift set courtesy of our friends at Salish Sea Salts who we met at theWild Foods Festival back in April.

 

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A Visit to Rocky Creek Winery

A short drive off the Island Hwy lies a small boutique winery tucked away on charming little acreage in Cowichan Bay. To get there you only need a ride with an unwilling designated driver.

Rocky Creek Winery is owned and operated by 3rd generation winemaker, Mark Holford and his wife Linda.  As long as they could remember, they talked about starting their own winery. The pair started producing batches of wine out of their basement in Ladysmith,  becoming the very first neighbourhood winery in Ladysmith. When they realized their wines were in high demand, they opened a second location in Cowichan Bay. Homegrown down to the grapes, they are passionate about keeping the business local and developing varieties of grapes that thrive naturally in Vancouver Island’s cooler climate. It takes only a quick glance at the wall of medals adorning their tasting room to realize that Mark and Linda are serious about their craft.

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Fab Food Photo of the Week : Frittata

Italy’s answer to the conventional omelette, frittata derives from the word fritto, meaning “to fry.” What can only be described as an open-face omelet on steroids, the addition of meat, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, herbs and cheese truly makes this breakfast dish a complete meal in a pan! Our version came courtesy of a late night hankering and a little ingenuity; an experimental combination of smoked tofu, asparagus, feta and tomatoes.

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Coast to Coast Kettle Corn

Kettle corn is one of those delightful treats that creates the perfect interplay of salty and sweet. As you have probably noticed in earlier posts, it is one of our favourite combinations of flavours. Recently we had the pleasure of meeting Jessica from Salish Sea Salts at the Wild Foods Festival. Jessica was kind enough to send us home with a bunch of her locally harvested artisan sea salts to play with in our kitchen. We had planned on making a batch of kettle corn for an upcoming movie night and decided that it would be a great opportunity to try some experimental recipes. We had our heart set on the Smoked Maple Sea Salt that she described to us as her coast to coast product because you get the wonderful East Coast maple flavour combined with the West Coast sea salt.

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Good Eats on Commercial St. Under $10

Here at the Flirty Foodie we tend to avoid the two Fs: fast food joints and franchises. In a city chock full of chain restaurants, how does one sort the good from the run-of-the-mill? Downtown Nanaimo contains a treasure trove of culinary delights, many of which can be found along a historic stretch of road on Commercial Street. Hidden in plain sight, you only have to stop and look to discover there is great eating here! We take you through some of our favourite stops along the strip. The best part about our list is that all of our picks are under $10!

 

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Fab Food Photo of the Week: Pecan Pie

Pecan pie is one of those desserts that conjure up mouth watering memories of the holidays. Sure it has a bit of a bad reputation (there are a lot of terrible pecan pies running around out there) but when made right they can be downright delectable.

Old fashioned, chocolate, or bourbon? What’s your favourite variety of pecan pie?

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