Spain’s green coast – costa verde – near San Sebastian – photo – Karen Anderson
Pintxos are small appetizers pierced with a toothpick and served from large plates on bar tops. You take what you’d like, order some drinks, take a few more goodies if you have a hankering to do so and pay before you leave. The bartender simply counts up your toothpicks, remembers what you drank and charges you accordingly. Everything is on the honour system. Everything – drinks and food – is priced from one to a few euros. The atmosphere is chilled, relaxed; easy.
This post isn’t about naming names of places you “must try” for pintxos when you go to San Sebastian in Spain’s Basque Country. It’s more about priming your palette and your mind to maximally enjoy the experience. The ritual of enjoying pintxos is a bit about food and a lot about visiting and relaxing.
Read on to see how my family got along on our recent trip to Basque country’s culinary capital.
Thanks to Telus TV and their OptikLocal branch for the brilliant video profile of my company Calgary Food Tours Inc.
We made this video on a rainy day in May 2014 and it captures the essence of the food tours we offer here in Calgary. They are all about food, fun and adventure and you can see my guests enjoying delicious food prepared by great local cooks, having fun exploring and sharing the adventure of a day out of the ordinary.
It’s one thing to watch the video – that’s fantastic – but the best thing of all is to come on out and enjoy a tour.
Calgary Food Tours Inc. is one of the best things that helps me savour it all. I hope you’ll come and share in the food, fun and adventures we’ve designed for our guests.
I love my company Calgary Food Tours Inc. and all the fun people I get to work with. Cheers to them for making our company a world class one!
photo – Cole Anderson
Cool thing #23 – Calgary Food Tours is featured in Avenue Magazine
5 Great Calgary Food Tours.
Thanks to Calgary’s Avenue Magazine Executive Editor Jennifer Hamilton for so clearing capturing and highlighting my company Calgary Food Tours Inc in the article above.
Yes, it’s true. When I’m not writing, I’m out on the streets of Calgary leading food tours. The tours are amazing because of the depth of Calgary’s food scene and the terrific partners we choose to showcase. Yet many people still don’t know what a food tour is or what we do.
Read on for a photo journey that will help you see why food tours are quickly becoming the number one attraction in cities around the globe.
Pan Seared BC Halibut with Morel, English Pea and Chorizo Ragout
photo – Karen Anderson
In this week where sustainable fisheries are on my mind, it’s nice to receive inspiring news that a leader in Calgary’s restaurant scene has firmly anchored his seafood restaurant in the mostly unchartered waters of promoting sustainable fish consumption. I wrote about Catch restaurant’s new buycatch seafood market here. Many thanks to chef Kyle Groves for sharing this beautiful recipe and now we know where to get the “Jet Fresh” halibut we need to make this palate pleaser.
Pan Seared BC Halibut with Morel, English Pea, and Chorizo Ragout
courtesy of Chef Kyle Groves, Catch and The Oyster Bar, Calgary, Alberta
4 X 6 oz. Pieces of Wild BC Halibut Fillet
4 oz. Morel Mushrooms – washed and patted dry
8 oz. English peas – out of the shell and blanched
8 oz. Boiled ratte or fingerling potatoes – peeled and cut into ½” thick disks
6 oz. Chorizo meat – chopped into small pieces
½ oz. Fresh thyme – leaves only
4 oz. Fresh cold butter
1 oz. shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 oz. chives, minced
3 oz. Dry white wine
Salt / Pepper / Lemon juice to taste
1. In a cast iron pan sear the halibut fillets on one side until golden brown
2. Transfer to a 400*F oven and cook until the fish reaches 135*F
3. When the fish comes out of the oven, add a few thyme leaves and cook for one minute
4. Meanwhile, in a sauté pan cook the chorizo until the fat has rendered out of it
5. Add the minced shallot and garlic and cook in the chorizo fat until softened
6. Add the Morel mushrooms and sauté until softened
7. Add the fresh thyme leaves and cook until they “pop”
8. Add a splash of dry white wine to cool the pan slightly
9. Add the cooked potato disks and the English peas
10. Bring mixture to a boil and add the cold butter cubes slowly
11. When mixture is thick, season with salt pepper and lemon juice
12. Divide onto 4 warm plates and sprinkle with fresh chopped chives
13. Top with the halibut and serve right away
Chef Kyle Groves of Catch and The Oyster Bar at the Hyatt Regency Calgary
photo – Karen Anderson
This week I’ll be talking about sustainable fisheries on CBC Radio One’s Alberta at Noon. In a related story, one of Calgary’s flashier downtown restaurants just announced an interesting new sustainable seafood program.
Catch and The Oyster Bar became the first seafood restaurant in Alberta to offer a 100% Ocean Wise™ menu last year and now they’ve added a completely Ocean Wise™ seafood market called buycatch (its a market by Catch where you buy the fish Catch carries but there’s no harmful bycatch – a term referring to birds and other species of fish inadvertently caught with unsustainable fisheries methods). The menu of offerings will change on a daily basis as their “Jet Fresh” supply arrives from the coasts of Canada. Ocean Wise™ provides consumers with the Vancouver Aquarium’s assurance of an ocean friendly sustainable seafood choice.
Here’s how the buycatch program will work.
Market fresh lemons
photo – Karen Anderson
This post continues my current theme of visiting Paris via the articles I’ve written about it. This one is a favourites for a few reasons.
It is the first article I ever published – it came out in the travel issue of City Palate magazine in the spring of 2007. It is called, Mr. Hockey goes into the belly of Paris and it recounts a time when I convinced a friend to get up at 4:30 in the morning to visit the world’s largest food market in Paris with me. Some of the facts may have changed since the article was published but I still love this piece because it describes a side of Paris that few people ever get to see.
I love this piece most of all because it’s humorous. I am not a fiction writer. If you find it funny, it’s because it really was quite the entertaining day in my life.
I hope it give you a chuckle…
photo – Karen Anderson
This week I’m remembering all the wonderful trips I’ve had to Paris.
I’m thinking about chestnut trees laden with miniature pink and white trees of blooms and a milder, more gentle climate. I’m thinking of the softness of the city of lights viewed from a Bateau Mouche chugging along the Seine versus the excitement of watching the spectacle of the nightly laser light show of the Eiffel Tower. I’m remembering long strolls along pretty avenues lined with buildings the colours of softly melting butter. I’m reaching out for the freedom of stopping to sip an early morning coffee or late afternoon wine in a cafe and for days when that was all I had to do. I’m remembering trips with friends, my husband, my older sister and my son. All were quite splendid.
I’m not going to make it to Paris this spring so I thought it would be fun to relive some of the adventures I’ve had there – here on these pages – with you.
Sharing my passion for Paris with you is almost as good as being there myself. So here’s another installation from some of the work I’ve published on this topic. This is an article about a wonderful family trip that was published in The Calgary Herald a few years ago. I wrote it with the hope that other families might find some of the tips fun and useful. Many people have been kind enough to say it was. That’s always a very good day in a writer’s life.
Here we go…