Peaceful and sophisticated are not words one would generally use to describe a typical day at the airport. Fairmont YVR, however, has revolutionized the way we perceive the airport experience, providing travellers and locals alike the opportunity to indulge in one of England’s most cherished traditions: High Tea.
A few Friday’s ago, the Pumphouse Pub in Richmond BC invited me to experience another one of their fantastic Long Table Dinners. This time however, it was a Wine Long Table Dinner which was created around a lavish Italian menu. Trust me—I know what a lucky foodie I am to have been invited!
The menu was created by none other than the brilliant Italian Chef Daniela Iaci. Each of the five dishes was cleverly paired to a wine (all under the $20 range) and which can be easily located at your local liquor store.
The first dish I got to try was Crisp Apple & Prosciutto Salad with a Lime Vinaigrette. It was by far my favorite dish of the night. The crispiness of the granny smith apple, the saltiness of the prosciutto and the sharp acidity of the lime vinaigrette was absolutely mind blowing. If it’s even possible—each bite was better than the last.
This light & refreshing salad was brilliantly paired with a crisp Bollini Trentino Pinot Grigio. This Pinot can be found in your local liquor store in the $14 price range. Though I am not a big pinot grigio fan, I can say with confidence that the fruitiness and smoothness of this wine is a great pair to any summer salad.
The second dish was a Wild Mushroom Risotto with Smoked Chicken. It was paired with my favorite wine of the night: Bodegas Ateca Garnacha de Fuego. Please don’t ever ask me to pronounce the name for you, I will surely fail at its Latin Roots. When I went to the liquor store the other night to buy a bottle of this brilliant red I described it as “the bottle with the red flame” and thankfully the lady knew exactly what I was talking about! It sells at the BCL for $15, and let me tell you- this is a steal!
This Garnacha had a medium-full body, a rich earthiness and just the perfect touch of acidity. It played exceptionally well with the saltiness of the risotto.
The risotto was excellent. Coming from a foodie who eats out a couple times a week- it’s hard to find a good risotto. I that with risotto it often has to be ‘in your blood’ (aka Italian!). Lucky for me Chef Iaci comes from Italian roots and her risotto really meant business
The third dish I got to try was the Slow Roasted Italian Meatballs and this dish was paired with a full bodied red wine called Bodegas Olivares Altos de la Hoya. Again, I won’t be able to pronounce this wine but what I can do is describe it for you. It’s was a deep, full bodied, dark wine with the ability to maintain a sort of elegance. It was surprisingly quite smooth and had a blackberry-like finish to it.
Pairing a full bodied wine to a hearty dish such as the comforting classical Italian meatball was a very smart choice. Only a protein can withstand the boldness of such a wine.
The final main dish of the night was a Cassoulet with slow cooked Pork, Sausage Bacon & Beans.
This dish is the epitome of what I would call a comfort meal. Personally, I found the meat trio to be a little overwhelming; however, if you are a meat lover, your taste buds will be in an extremely happy place.
The dish was paired with Razor’s Edge Shiraz Grenache. It was a great bold wine that finished with hint of spice. It matched with the dish nicely because it was strong enough to withstand the meat trio in the Cassoulet without overpowering it.
We ended the night with a divine Dark Chocolate Creme Brule that was topped with blackberries & accompanied by Henry’s Drive Morse Code Shiraz. This was my first time having a chocolate crème brule, and I must admit, I’m not sure if the regular is going to do it for me anymore! It was absolute heaven. I heavily suggest that the Pumphouse incorporate this desert to their every-day menu.
For those of you who are dying to have a similar foodie experience–i got some good news for you! The next Long Table dinner will be on June 15th! It will be an ode to our loyal friend bacon–as your 5 dishes will be infused with bacon and paired with 5 craft beers from Beerthirst. As if it can get any better, the money will be donated to sponsor one special Richmond athlete for the PGA tour.
Thank you again to the Pumphouse Pub for having me! It was a pleasure as always and I would like to give another thank you to all the lovely Vancouverites, and Richmond Locals whom I had the privilege of meeting, eating & drinking good wine with. You were all excellent company.
Last Friday, Richmond’s Pumphouse Pub invited me to join them for one of their infamous “Long Table Dinners”.
The concept behind the Long Table Dinner is brilliant. Basically, the idea is to have customers come out & try new, exciting craft beers from breweries across North America.
This is a great way to get customers to become more open minded & explore past their “go-to” drink.
This month’s long table dinner was hosted by award-winning Green Flash Brewery, located all the way in San Diego, CA. I had the opportunity of trying 5 different Green Flash Craft Beers, each of which was cleverly paired to a dish the chef at the Pumphouse Pub had created.
The first beer brought out was Green Flash Rayon Vert. It was by far my favorite beer. It was light, delicate & filled with citrusy hops. A more of a “girl beer” I would say (I know you are all judging me at the moment =) ). The dish chosen to pair was a Thai Noodle Mango Salad; baby shrimp, mangoes, shredded coconut, bean sprouts & cashews. It was a very refreshing noodle salad & its fruity mango hints worked perfectly with the citrus hops of the Rayon Vert.
The next beer brought out was a Green Flash West Coast IPA. It was a full flavored, medium bodied and copper colored beer that kind of smelt like…..horse hay? Don’t worry though! I solemnly swear that its taste was far from its smell.
The dish that was chosen to compliment the drink was a Coconut Curry Prawn with a Jicama & Pineapple Slaw. The prawns were beautifully cooked & the slaw was lovely. However, the coconut flavors were much too subtle. I personally felt that the West Coast IPA was far too heavy of a beer to match the delicacy of this protein.
The next dish, Spicy Dry Rubbed Roast Beef with Caramelized Yams was by far my favorite. Oh. My. God. This dish was so good that I had completely forgotten about the beer until I nearly licked my plate clean. What in the world was in that spice rub!?
The Le Freak Belgian Style IPA that had been chosen to pair with this dish was extremely satisfying with the Roast Beef. Much more satisfying than a glass of red (this is coming from a serious wine lover)!
One of the dinner guests had made an interesting point: “Beer has much more versatility than wine does, yet we never think to match our dinner with it”.
The Le Freak beer…was a little freaky to be honest ( in a good way!). I’ve never had a beer quite like it. My taste buds were on fire with flavors of malt, oak and apple! Also…check out the white foamy head on this beauty!
The final main course brought to the table was a Grilled Jerk Salmon with Miso Bay Scallops & Coconut rice .
Alright where do I begin with this dish? First off, both proteins (salmon and scallops) were cooked to perfection. I’m still not sure what Miso-Bay is but whatever it’s supposed to be…it worked & tasted great. The texture of the rice was very good, although there was absolutely no trace of coconut in this “coconut rice”. I’m assuming the rice was cooked in coconut milk, however– it failed to absorb any of the flavour.
The beer chosen to pair with this dish was the Green Flash Imperial IPA. The IPA was quite hoppy, yet it managed to have notes of sweet floral. This sweetness played perfectly with the salmon & dominated the bitterness of the IPA. A very successful pairing I would say.
One of the table guests, Taylor, who was a beer & wine whiz, told me that beer lacing is a very good indicator of a high quality beer.
He was right. Check out the lacing on this Green Flash IPA…clinged to the glass for its life. Bet your Corona can’t do that trick!
We finally finished off the night with the Green Flash Double Stout Beer & a decadent Raspberry Cheesecake Pie.
Our amazing culinary adventure was then topped off with some great late night music.
What an amazing time Kiana & I had! I would like to give another BIG thank you to the Pumphouse Pub for having me! You have a truly special place & I will definitely be recommending it. Lastly, I would like to say how wonderful it was to have met and dined with all you craft-beer loving foodies! This experience was a wonderful way to have gotten to know some of you Richmond locals =).
If any of you would like to share a similar experience, the Pumphouse Pub offers these Long Table Dinners once a month!