Inspiring Awesomeness with Food

Inspiring Awesomeness with Food
I visited my blog today and realized my most recent post was on BC Family Day, well over a month ago. I’ve been guest posting on so many other blogs that I have neglected my own. Truth, I am tired of writing restaurant reviews. There are hundreds of Vancouver food blogs writing on the same damn restaurants and the same dishes, with similar opinions and pictures. It gets boring! I’ve been doing this since 2010, something has to change.

Those danm obnoxious food bloggers…who think they are Anthony Bourdain

Food bloggers as a group have been known to be greedy, petty and generally obnoxious. I’ve seen an example, when a blogger sat down and before he ordered said “I am (blog). Personally, I wouldn’t give a shit if you are a food blogger, why would I treat you any differently than other patrons here?  “Fine, I have 3000 twitter followers, so don’t fuck up my meal, or I will send one tweet out and that would end your business” I haven’t actually heard anyone say that but, I can read between the lines. You are no Anthony Bourdain, you are just a prick.

Dining = Food + People

What my blog has given me is a platform to build connections, a network of people who are passionate about what they do, they want to inspire, change and create. They are passionate about cooking and continually test boundaries, create and inspire environmental changes by creating a program to reduce food waste.  This is why I’m still writing, so that I can inspire, change and hopefully create a little awesomeness on the way.

I haven’t moved away from food, I love staying informed, not just about the newest restaurant openings instead, about the people and their stories behind the food they have created.

When I went to Yaletown L’Antipasto, my friend “slipped” that I was reviewing their restaurant. Side note, I really hate when that happens, I feel like I’m being stalked and scrutinized throughout my meal. Instead of just talking about what’s in the dishes, we talked about Matti, Chef and Co-Owner of L’Antipasto. His dreams to one day have his own farm where he could grow his own food, and have a small rustic restaurant at the farm.

He loves local ingredients because he knows how it was grown, packaged and delivered, ensuring that when his produce arrives it’s still at its peak. He understands, not every dish has to be complicated, sometimes it’s better to be simple.

So when my friend mentioned that her dish was a little bland, it was just tomatoes, olive oil and a few other herbs.  I understood, that it was meant to be this way. The quality of the ingredients itself was amazing. Educating her on what a great fresh tomatoes and quality olive oil was supposed to taste like. The olive oil was from a Co-op farm in Italy, who still manually presses. (My explanation went a little deeper than that, I even called Matti over).  With her deeper understanding, she was able to appreciate her food.

Inspiring Social Changes With Food

Another person that I was able to meet because of my blog was Jonathan Chovancek, of Kale & Nori Catering and Bittered Slings Extract. He is very inspiring, his enthusiasm and passion for social and eco change through food.  He has taken upon himself to ensure his clients and their guests consume ingredients that support the sustainable food movement, doing extra due-diligence to track the movement of his food. “Most food is sold from origin to distributor to sub distributor. Getting to the source, knowing where the food originated and what was fed, how it was grown is important. How long has it been dead, picked, preserved. Understanding that the quality is at its peak for only a few hours and from that point on it is diminishing”, Jonathan said.

Our meeting was an eye opener. I am a firm believer that food can create social and economic change. The rise of popularity in quinoa has created an economic and social shift for farmers and consumers in Chile, it also has driven up the price for local consumers. It is a staple, similar to white rice to Chinese but, with the high demand in the western nations, they much rather have it exported then sold locally, driving up the local prices.

So what does this mean for Food Persuasion?

I will continue to blog with a purpose, to inspire people, hopefully to do something awesome. Even something as little as making you pause and think for a few seconds about the food you are about to consume is enough, at least for now.

Yaletown L’Antipasto – The Best Olive Oil in Vancouver

Food Persuasion Restaurant Review
Yaletown L’Antipasto

Yaletown L’Antipasto, a cute little bistro like Italian restaurant in the heart of Yaletown.  The seating is limited without being cramped. A very non- Yaletown vibe, Yaletown-L’Antipasto had a friendly, casual and cozy atmosphere. Because the seating was so close, diners were able to converse with other diners at other tables.

I was dining with Jenn and Marian, which meant by the end of the night we would’ve had at least 3 bottles of wine between 3 girls.

Bruschetta Mista Toasted ciabatta bread with an assortment of in-house made pates. That night, it was Tomato, truffle, artichoke and Tuscan chicken pate. The chicken pate was our favourite, decadent and flavourful.

Bruschetta mista

Carpaccio  AAA Alberta Beef, drizzled with “Gocce di Tartufo” white Truffle oil, served with preserved vegetables in olive oil. It had a really big serving of Olive oil, a little too much for my taste, otherwise the quality of the meat and with the preserved vegetables was an excellent pairing.

Carpaccio

I am not an olive oil connoisseur but, even I can taste the quality. Olive oil flavours, grassy, buttery and it reminded me of drinking wine. There was enough olive oil in the last dish for a few teaspoons. I have included an  Olive Oil Tasting – How To’s section on the bottom. I wanted to purchase a bottle for myself but, alas it was directly sourced from a farmer’s co-op in Italy, all whom presses their own olives. Matti, co-owner of Yaletown L’Antipasto, tries to source their ingredients locally. However, the quality of the olive oil isn’t there locally and so they had to import from abroad.

olive oil

Spaghetti Bianchi, Manila Clams Sauted with Pinot Grigio, Olive Oil, fresh Garlic & Chillies. Simple and basked in my favourite olive oil. The pasta was cooked to al dente. Good dose of olive oil, by the end of the night the oil from my dish soaked through the cardboard takeout box and the paper bag.

Clam Spaghetti

The spaghetti is bought fresh.
fresh spaghetti

Pappardelle Rosse, switched to Spaghetti, home-made Organic Tomato Sauce with an assorted Meat Ragu, a rustic dish great for those cold nights.

Ravioli alla Filly, Lobster & Crab stuffed Ravioli served with a Fresh Roma Tomato Sauce, Sauted Tiger Prawns & Arugula. This was my favourite dish, Jenn thought it was too bland.

Ravioli

Segway tooo…

Simple Dishes Are the Most Difficult to Perfect

We launched into a debate that simple dishes are much harder to make because, A) you need quality ingredients, there are no heavy sauces to mask the poor ingredients B) that is how this dish is supposed to taste like! Well ok, my second point wasn’t a supporting argument but, I am sticking with it. We got so heated that we started to involve other diners and the restaurant owners in our conversation. Some dishes are meant to be simple so you can taste the ingredients. The highlight of the ravioli was the tomatoes, they were acidic with a hint of sweetness, Matti agreed. You cannot beat a simple dish with fresh quality ingredients.

His ultimate dream would be to have a farm with cows, chickens and vegetables and a restaurant on the side. I would LOVE to go. Have you ever tried fresh ice cream? I have, I milked a cow and manually creamed it.  It was the best ice cream that I had ever had, even better than the internationally award-winning Bella Gelateria.

Olive Oil Tasting – How To’s
When tasting olive oil, much of the oil’s characteristics are perceived through the sense of smell. Though most people enjoy olive oil with other foods, the following steps allow us to focus on the olive oil’s flavor without distraction:

  • Pour a small amount of oil (about 1 tablespoon) into a small tapered (wine) glass.
  • Hold the glass in one hand and use your other hand to cover the glass while swirling the oil to release its aroma.
  • Uncover the glass and inhale deeply from the top of the glass. Think about whether the aroma is mild or strong. You may want to write down descriptions of the aromas that you detect at this point.
  • Next you slurp the oil; this is done by sipping a small amount of oil into your mouth while “sipping” some air as well. (When done correctly, you will make that impolite noise that would cause you to be scolded when you were a child!) Slurping emulsifies the oil with air that helps to spread it throughout your mouth – giving you the chance to savor every nuance of flavor with just a small sip of oil.
  • Finish by swallowing the oil and noticing if it leaves a stinging sensation in your throat.

Source: Directly from: The Olive Oil Source- Nancy’s Tasting Advice

Other Italian Restaurants

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