Hiatuses & Euro Trips: The Flirty Foodie is Back in Action

Flirty Foodies where did you go? Did something terrible happen? Are you guys dieting or something? Why haven’t you posted anything in a while? Are you breaking up with us? Can we cuddle?

-concerned readers

We apologize for the lack of posts of late. Rest assured we are very much alive and well. Fall has been a very busy time of year for pair of us. For the most, part it was spent fattening up in preparation for a long and cold winter. This makes for excellent heat retention and great spooning. Any takers?

Did we mention the liquid calories?

Meaghan has been busy in the kitchen, developing recipes and expanding her freelance photography. Boudoir shoots and bacon…sounds delicious non?  Ayaka on the other hand, recently came back from a whirlwind trip in Europe. Here she recaps three of her European dining experiences. Continue reading

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Visiting St. Jean’s Cannery and Smokehouse

St. Jean’s Cannery is a family owned and operated business that has been a mainstay in Nanaimo for fifty years.  Started by Armand St. Jean in 1961, today it remains a family affair with son Gerard taking over from his father’s humble beginnings, selling his home-smoked oysters to local bars.  In a West Coast fishing industry that has been in steady decline for years, business is booming at St. Jean’s making it a remarkable success story.  So when Armand’s grandson Dave St. Jean invited us to tour his family’s cannery, we were gung ho and ready to view (and hopefully eat) a ridiculous amount of seafood.

boxes of pacific smoked oysters from St. Jeans Cannery and Smokehouse

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Meat Lovers Rejoice: Nanaimo Barbecue Festival Wrap Up

Frying pan of pulled pork

Grill masters and barbecue enthusiasts gathered from Canada and the US on July 14th where they lined Commercial Street for Nanaimo’s first annual Barbecue Festival. Officially sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, this two day action packed meat extravaganza featured cooking contests, a show ‘n shine, a rib eating competition, live music, an expo and enough smoked deliciousness to make even the most seasoned of carnivores blush. This is going to be a meat heavy post. Vegetarians…you have been warned. Continue reading

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Recapping the 2012 BC Shellfish Festival’s Chefs’ Dinner

Each year seafood lovers gather in the Comox Valley for the BC Shellfish Festival, the largest of its kind on the West Coast. Celebrating its 6th anniversary, this year’s festivities kicked off on Tuesday, June 12th with a screening of the documentary “Shellshocked” followed by the Mott’s Clamato Best Caesar in Town Competition on Thursday, which we had the pleasure of judging. Next on the festival calendar was a seafood extravaganza also known as the Chefs’ Dinner. We were kindly invited to take part in this wonderful celebration of locally produced shellfish.

As we raced down the highway, rocking out to Van Morrison dressed in our formal wear, our mouths watered in anticipation of eating freshly shucked oysters, clams, mussels and geoducks. With over 200 guests to be treated to a gourmet, six-course seafood feast by an all star chef line-up, this sold out dinner was the hottest ticket in town. Each chef collaborated with a BC shellfish grower and their product to bring their original seafood creations to the guests. Factor in a bottle of BC wine paired with each course, and you got a sense of the urgency we were feeling with a 120 kilometre drive separating us from this seafood gorge fest. Continue reading

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Now That’s a Bloody Good Caesar!

Local bartenders from the Comox Valley squared off in the Mott’s Best Caesar in Town Competition on June 14th. Hosted by The Flying Canoe West Coast Pub, the contest was the kickoff to the BC Shellfish Festival.  Our resident Caesar drinking expert Meaghan was graciously invited to sit in as a guest judge. The pair of us were put up in a beautiful room at the Best Western Plus -Westerly Hotel and Convention Centre. We were grateful for our comfortable beds that were within stumbling distance from the event; a determinant that would facilitate optimal Caesar drinking efficiency.  With bragging rights and a coveted trophy on the line, this seafood themed battle royale was about to go down…and we were sitting in the meat seats.

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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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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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Wild Foods Festival Recap

The Nanaimo & Area Land Trust held its 3rd annual Wild Foods Festival last Sunday at Bowen Park as a part of Nanaimo’s Earth Day celebrations. The festival drew our attention as it featured local chefs preparing savoury snacks and desserts with wild edible plants. It was an easy sell for us as one can never really go wrong when surrounded by copious amounts of food.

Chef Hamish Thomson from Real Food serves up stinging nettle and blackberry smoothies

As we approached the festivities honking our horn erratically at the minivan attempting to steal our parking spot, our minds conjured up images of endless salad bars, hippies and patchouli. We were instead met with an array of stalls manned by local market vendors, restaurants and community groups. Everyone from students to professionals, hipsters, crunchy granola types, vendors and food enthusiasts alike came out to sample and learn about edible wild plants. We had also come to the realization that they all had a good head start on us in the eating department and that there was some serious catching up to do. We opted out of the guided edible plants walk and headed straight for the food…naturally!
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