Category Archives: Joy

Back on Joy Road – an alfresco dinner with @joyroadcatering and @LaStellaWinery

the setting for Joy Road Catering's al fresco "cuisine de terroir" Okanagan dinners  photo - Karen Anderson

the setting for Joy Road Catering’s al fresco “cuisine de terroir” Okanagan dinners
photo – Karen Anderson

Last week I made my annual summer pilgrimage to Penticton in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. It’s year 15 and each year gets better and brings more joy.

We have rituals that make this place a haven for our family.

Early morning cycling with friends, time for a coffee and chat, a dip in the lake when the notion strikes or if it is really hot – a chance to float lazily down the channel that cuts through this isthmus; this city lodged like a too tight belt between two very curvy lakes.

We shop at farmers’ markets, lunch at vineyards and dine on the patio. The air is soft and caresses the skin. Lavender, roses, Ponderosa pine and the smell of fresh fruit drift to the brain’s memory bank of scents and deliver a sigh and a smile in recognition. Blue sky meets blue water with pale faced clay banks lined with grapevines sloping to their steep cliffs. Life is grand and then it gets even better.

We go to an alfresco dinner with Joy Road Catering at a retreat called God’s Mountain and life feels quite complete. I’ve written about the very talented owners Dana Ewart and Cameron Smith and you can learn more about why I’m a fan of theirs here.

Read on to see what was on the menu this year, who the winery was and what it all looked like with the few photos I thought to snap here and there as the dinner progressed. I’m sorry there aren’t more. I was enchanted by the evening.

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Springtime in #Paris – My top 10 things to do for food lovers in Paris

perfect soufflé at Alaine Ducasse's Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower photo - Karen Anderson

perfect soufflé at Alaine Ducasse’s Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower
photo – Karen Anderson

Here’s an article I wrote on the top things for food lovers to do when visiting Paris. It will serve as the finale in this series of posts on my best Paris experiences.

I wrote it for City Palate magazine in 2010 but I think the ideas are just as fun now. Of course, I’d be more than willing to go to do more research…just to be sure.

Until then, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this series and that you’ll enjoy reading this article entitled The Power of Ten. The joy I have in memories of these Paris experiences enriches my life and helps me Savour it All. I hope that by sharing these stories I’ve shared a little of that joie de vivre with you. (just click on this pdf to read the piece)

final-paris.pdf

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Springtime in #Paris – Art Installation #6 -Giverny – Monet’s true masterpiece

Monet's Garden - viewed from his home photo - Karen Anderson

Monet’s Garden – viewed from his home
photo – Karen Anderson

Are you are gardener like me? Are your green thumb’s itching to scratch the earth each spring as winter thaws and the earth sends its hidden shoots skyward with the melt and thaw?

Well, it’s been an especially long winter where I live and so in this week where I’m sharing memories of my trips to Paris, I find special joy in sharing photos of an excursion I made to one of the most beautiful garden’s on earth: Claude Monet’s home and garden at Giverny.

Giverny is easily reached from Gare Nord in Paris. It’s only a little over an hour’s train ride into Normandie and I spent a magical day there on my own several years ago while my husband was busy attending a conference. The pictures that follow will show just how soft and gentle a land I wondered into when I got off that train. I hope this virtual home and garden tour helps you savour it all and dream of when your own garden comes to life this spring.

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Behind the scenes @CityPalate Iron Sommelier Challenge #yycfood #yycwine

The remains of the day...of wine tasting photo - Karen Anderson

The remains of the day…of wine tasting
photo – Karen Anderson

Fine wine delivers a small bouquet of joy.

Especially when that wine is paired with great food. Knowing which wine to pair with what food is the work of sommeliers.

Writing about a sommelier challenge that involved three incredibly talented sommeliers, three wine expert judges, two savoury dishes from one of my favourite chefs in town and 12 incredible wines can only be described as a plum assignment with spicy notes and an incredible finish.

I hope you’ll enjoy this very fun article about City Palate magazine’s annual Iron Sommelier Challenge. I sure enjoyed writing it. It was fun to capture the very playful scene it became and to learn from the experts. If you’d like a sneak peak into what went on in the background of this article please read on…

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The Middle-terrain-ean lifestyle filled with healthy hobbits – the real secret to long life (Happy April fool’s day)

Hobbits live the longest...it must be their Middle-terrain-ean diet

Hobbits live the longest…it must be their Middle-terrain-ean diet

I’ve long thought that I’d like to be a hobbit.

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Ode to @JoyRoadCatering – coming soon to @CookbookCooks in Calgary

Dappled sunlight at day's end signals time for a Joy Road Al Fresco dinner  photo - Karen Anderson

Dappled sunlight at day’s end signals time for a Joy Road Al Fresco dinner
photo – Karen Anderson

Canada’s Top 40 under 40 Foodies, Dana Ewart and Cameron Smith of Joy Road Catering are coming to Calgary March 15 and 16, 2014 for a weekend of sharing not only their cooking but their cooking skills.

Joy Road’s Al Fresco Winemaker’s dinner series – held on the clay banks escarpment high above Lake Skaha in Penticton, B.C. each summer – has been listed in the top ten dining events to experience in Canada. Tickets for each season sell out as quickly as they are announced. Patrons eagerly await the chance to return to the bucolic setting and taste of place this team serves up with deceiving ease. A multi-course dinner for 40, paired with local winemaker’s bounty, served outside on crisp white linens – complete with elegant flowers, candles and a touch of whimsy – are carried out with the panache that only comes with mastery of the culinary arts. The vibe is French or Italian countryside without the pricey plane ticket and jet lag but with all the subtle pride in a region’s produce and terroir.

The Joy Road Catering Calgary events at The Cookbook Co. Cooks are as follows:

March 15 – 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. – whole hog butchery – $135/person.
March 15 – 6:30 to 9 p.m. – Joy Road Catering’s wine paired feast – $100/person.
March 16 – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – hands on charcuterie-making – $100/person.
All tickets are available through The Cookbook Co. Cooks by calling (403) 265-6066.

Want to know a little more about what makes Joy Road’s Ewart and Smith so special? Read on for a cozy peek into life lived on Joy Road…

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Filed under Cooks I know, Heritage cooking skills, Joy, Restaurants, Savour food, Travel, Wine

Art installation #3 – @U2 > Ordinary Love

I appreciate music.

Like art and beauty, taste in music, is totally personal and subjective.

It doesn’t matter what type of music I like or that you like. No matter what it is; the fact that we like it is enough to have a positive impact on our brains and our lives.

This post was inspired by U2′s new song Ordinary Love because in watching the video and listening to the lyrics, I got to thinking about how music affects our lives and our ability to savour it all.

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Joy – My love affair with lobster

My grandfather's fish market on the Passamaquoddy bay in St. Andrews, New Brunswick photo - Karen Anderson

My grandfather’s fish market on the Passamaquoddy bay in St. Andrews, New Brunswick
photo – Karen Anderson

I was about to post a snazzy lobster recipe for New Year’s when it hit me that you might wonder why someone in Calgary who professes to love “local” is now writing about lobster of all things. Here’s a little backgrounder to explain.

I was a teenager the first time I ate a whole lobster. It was late November and Dad’s birthday. “The season” was on and the lobster feed must have been a treat for a special year because as a rule we ate the fish Dad caught about four days a week and hamburger in some way, shape or form the other three. My long and happy relationship with lobster started on that fateful night.

Warning: this post might leave you with a terrific craving for lobster which depending on your income and geographic location could be inspiring or very, very frustrating.

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Ho-Ho-Hold onto that party idea till the New Year – How small groups can have BIG holiday fun once the season has wrapped up

Wine tastings are always fun. Time for a little time out...for good behaviour?  Here's a list of fun things to do for your small group Photo - Karen Anderson

Wine tastings are always fun.
Time for a little time out…for good behaviour?
Here’s a list of fun things to do for your small group
Photo – Karen Anderson

I’m thinking about all my friends in the hospitality and retail industries who are going gangbusters right now. It doesn’t take three wise men to know that they’ll be holding on till the New Year for a share of the good cheer most of us our currently enjoying thanks to their hard work.

There’s also whole gaggle of small groups and groups with small budgets in our town who can’t afford to check everyone into a spa-laden hotel or to fly in The Eagles to help them Take it Easy like some of this city’s generous corporate giants have been known to do (Calgary is Canada’s corporate head office capital).

Think of this post as a stocking overflowing with ideas for small groups whose gratification must be delayed. Here’s a few flings you can have before spring.

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Holiday party recipes – my @AlbertaatNoon column for November

I can squeeze 12 around my table and that makes for a very cozy gathering. I care for that. photo - Karen Anderson

I can squeeze 12 around my table and that makes for a very cozy gathering. I care for that.
photo – Karen Anderson

I don’t believe in perfect. The late great Erma Bombeck said if we wait for everything to be perfect to entertain we’ll miss out on way too much fun. I’m a firm believer that humans can never have too much fun and we need to exercise all options that might lead to the experience of joy.

I’m in love with the idea of having many creative options. Give up the idea of perfection and suddenly many ideas will have a chance to bring you joy. I think Confucius had it right when he said,

“the only way… is to have many ways”.

When it comes to parties and food, people can fall into the trap of wanting to have “the perfect party” and “perfect food”. I’m convinced there’s no such thing and that a party is better when it is not focused on these aspects of entertaining. Give yourself a break and keep your focus on the fun. Lighten up and enjoy the sharing of good food, drink and music with friends and family.

Joy will follow where fun leads.

For my November CBC Radio One Alberta at Noon radio column I presented three ideas or themes for holiday parties – family fun, appetizer themes and cozy suppers for the near and dear. This blog will deliver the recipes to go with each of those themes. Use the party planning principles I presented and enjoy these yummy recipes. Expect to be delighted and savour it all this holiday season. Blessings to you and yours, Karen

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