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.
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.
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.
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! Continue reading →
Bistro Taiyo Sushi Bar & Izakaya, located in the heart of Nanaimo’s Old City Quarter has served up authentic Japanese home-style cuisine for years. Under new ownership since 2011, Takeshi Hirose and Shin Koshimizu have given it a sophisticated remodel while still keeping true to the character and friendly atmosphere of its previous incarnation. From the moment you are warmly welcomed by the gracious all Japanese staff, you feel as though you’ve stepped into a small restaurant in Tokyo, minus the happy hour crowd in suits. The space though modest, features a sleek sushi bar where one can get a front row seat of sushi chefs in action. In addition, there are tables lining a bench and wooden chairs with traditional paper lanterns floating from the ceiling. While we do recommend that you pull up a seat at the sushi bar, we grabbed a table in anticipation of the serious spread we planned on ordering. The extra table space was needed. Continue reading →
Exciting culinary experiences are all around us; in family kitchens, neighbourhood watering holes and small ethnic dives. You never know where your next memorable meal will come from, and it doesn’t have to come from a five-star restaurant. The Flirty Foodie is dedicated to uncovering them; on Vancouver Island and beyond while sharing recipes, stories and unwrapping the unique individuals behind them. The only thing greater than our lust for food is our pleasure in inhaling it.
Meet our Flirty Foodies: A One on One with Meaghan and Ayaka
How would you describe each other?
Meaghan: Ayaka is just one of those extremely warm and happy go lucky types that people are irresistibly drawn to, myself included. Her passion in the kitchen is infectious; she’s very involved in what shes doing and takes her time, making sure every element of a dish is just right. One thing I can say about her is that she always leaves a very clean kitchen while the initial cooking process is extremely chaotic. She is pretty much the exact opposite of me, organized and tidy while I cook but resisting the final clean up every step of the way. Ayaka and I are extremely compatible food wise. Our mutual love of food is one of the reasons why we are so close. It’s fitting that we met working in a restaurant and bonded over many a night overindulging in food and booze. Don’t let her small Asian stature fool you, this girl can put them back. In fact she’s been known to drink grown men twice her size under the table (trust me, I’ve seen this with my own eyes).
Ayaka: I feel as though I’ve finally met my culinary soul mate with Meaghan; someone who shares my appreciation for a delicious meal…and is willing to go to any lengths to get it. I admire her enthusiasm for the simple pleasures; that sparkle she gets in her eyes at the sight of a ripe avocado or the ear to ear grin that spreads across her face after that first sip of a crisp Thai Red Bull. Personally I’m not turned on at the sight of vegetables but unlike your typical vegetarian, Meaghan eats the occasional animal, enjoys a nice aged cheese and lives for seafood. She’s what we call a “flexitarian.” an advanced hybrid class of vegetarian. In the kitchen, she is naturally gifted, understands her ingredients, thinks outside the box, and is fun to be around; four qualities I revere in a cooking partner in crime. The way she can produce a dish despite consuming copious amounts of wine throughout the entire process is truly impressive. One word of advice, don’t stand in between her and her morning coffee. I have learned this the hard way.