AURA Waterfront Restaurant chef prepares Chorizo

AURA Waterfront Restaurant chef prepares Chorizo

You’ve survived months of over eating,  your exercise dvd’s are stacked in a corner and amassing more dust by the day. Valentines day had come and gone, and that box of chocolates is staring at you from the recycling bin.

So what’s the next event that will leave you with that stuffed feeling.

February 17th till March 6th sees Victoria’s Annual ‘Dine Around & Stay in Town’ with restaurants showcasing them selves with $20, $30, $40 and even Celiac Friendly menus.

To launch this culinary two and a half week expo of gastronomy was the ‘Dine Around Menu Launch’

For $35 you could rub shoulders with some of the bright minds behind the kitchens around town. With the likes of Aura, The Empress & Bengal room, Strathcona Hotel, Blue Crab and many many more all in attendance.

The food that these guys and gals were creating in their 2 foot area was stunning and my hat was off to them.

Strategically placed in the center of the floor was a selection of wineries showing off their wares. It was great to see so many BC wines all present, but was disappointing to see the island under represented with some notable island names missing.

It was a great event for people who’d like to have an sneak peak of what these brilliant folks have come up with. But be prepared for tight quarters with little room to move; and be ready to come up with some intriguing  ways to juggle your plate, glass and papers.

Thank you goes out to Rod Phillips at Liquor Plus who provided the tickets to this event.

Looking for menus or more information ‘Dine Around & Stay in Town

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Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron

Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron

When you stumble across a four pack in beer for $20 some odd dollars you wonder what creative genius went in that beverage or if it’s a clever marketing ploy that will leave you with buyers remorse after the bottle is empty.

I’m no stranger to Dogfish head, and the recent show on Discovery has made them even a little more well know. They’ve never as far as I’ve been paying attention to them a brewery that makes standard beers. They’ve always made beers that stand out. (Granted not all of them have been home runs, but you remember them none the less)

The first thing you notice on this beer after the price, is the promise that it’s been matured in an exotic wood (Palo Santo or Bulnesia sarmientoi) from South America. So you may think that this is a special or seasonal beer, but in fact is produced year round by Dogfish Head.

The second thing you may notice as you go over the intriguing package is that ABV… a massive 12% This is dangerous territory for a beer in my experience, if done right you can come away with a product that is drinkable and well rounded. Done badly you end up with an expensive white elephant that isn’t drinkable and brings back that buyers remorse.

Once you’ve gotten over all the mental hurdles (price, style, abv, etc..) you’ll want to toss this in the fridge for just a little bit, but not too long. Just enough to bring it below room temperature but certainly not as cold as a pilsner.

When poured you get a nice amount of head, than settles down fairly promptly.

For our tasting we use a wine sample glass, this gave enough room to capture the aroma and get your nose in there to smell it. It had substantial vanilla, butterscotch, and oaky aroma.

Drink-ability and balance is where this beer just blasts you out of the water. The beer is a heavy winter beer, and while 12% is smooth and easy drinking with minimal carbonation, minimal alcohol taste, heavy vanilla and oak flavor like a red wine with roasted malt tones.

Verdict:
It’s a massive beer and with the weather becoming less pleasant, this beer makes a great beer for sipping with friends around a virtual fireplace (or real if you have one). With the price point where it is you can certainly get good mileage from sharing each glass between two people. Leaving me to recommend this beer & would pair quite well with dessert at your next dinner.

Brewers Suggested Pairings:
Steak, chorizzo sausage, cajun cuisine, farmhouse cheddar

Dogfish Head

What to pick?

At times it was a hard pick.

Spinnakers threw a very well received Firkin Festival Nov 20th. While a few short of the published 20 casks the 15 provided certainly didn’t leave any attendee I talked to feeling deprived. There was a wide range of styles from Golden Ales to rum infused hybrids to a beefy barley wine.

With a limit of only 100 tickets the upstairs tap room filled consistently till the home stretch around 3:30pm and while full, it was still possible to move around the upstairs and make your way to a cask when you were ready for that next sampling of fermented elixir.

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Metric in Victoria BC

Metric in Victoria BC

The Metric concert in Victoria BC tonight was a sad sound to bear to the 3/4 full arena. Emily Haines delivered the lyrics with enthusiasm but was let down by poor acoustics and poor balance on off the mixing board. The hour and a half set covered their hits and a few lesser popular songs. With a couple of the songs undergoing the Pink Floyd treatment of meandering musical extensions that didn’t do any favors to the overall concert.  Lastly the concerts visuals were a mix of epileptic educing strobing &  seedy club lighting that made the show unwatchable during some parts.

Audio: 4/10
Visual: 4/10
Band: 6/10
Overall: 5/10

Moon Under Water sign

Moon Under Water sign

After a long wait, good beer with affordable food has come to town!

Getting into Moon Under Water mere hours after they opened we finally got to try the new beacon of affordable micro brewed beers (Currently on tap are a Pale Ale, Bitter and a Rye Beer) and good pub food that won’t break the bank.

Being that it was their soft opening there are still some features to be finished.  Along with the important things like hot food (Some of the hottest food I’ve been served in an Victoria restaurant in quite some time!) and perfect temperature beer, there are nice touches like the bar tops and table with their lacquer finishes. A fire place in the center of the pub, along with another one in the alcove just in from the front door, and rotating artwork around the room.

The food options are restricted at the moment until they get their feet firmly on the ground. But there certainly wasn’t a shortage to pick from.

Starter Menu

Starter Menu at Moon Under Water

Opting for a wide selection of food choices, items tried at our table included the chicken burger with salad, chicken pot pie with salad, fish and chips, beef burger with fries and onion rings.Everything was hot and quite tasty, and paired well with the beers ordered. Average check ran around $20~25 including beer, food and tip.

The stand outs here were the onion rings with a smokey sauce. The batter hung on and stayed crispy. But the big surprise was the salad! Salad that wasn’t the decrepit sad looking lettuce that you see in all too many restaurants these days. This salad was actually a pleasure to eat!

Onion RingsChicken Pot PieFish and Chips

Conclusion:

There’s still work to be done on finishing the place up, but I think Victoria might have a new local’s favorite place for a pint and a good quality meal while still leaving a few dollars to pay that parking ticket off you got earlier in the day downtown.

Moon Under Water
Closed Mondays and Tuesdays
350B Bay Street
http://moonunderwater.ca/

With some new trips on the horizon, global cured meat looks like it may come “sooner rather than later”.

Tip of the day:

Gap adventures is giving away some very cool books
http://wateringhole.gapadventures.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=15083

I am surprised it has taken this long to bring a long overdue product to market! I know I will be ordering this for myself and all my friends. http://www.thinkgeek.com/stuff/41/squeez-bacon.html