Chef’s Garden & Hickory Road Farm!

When we think organic, many things come to mind. We think rural backcountry, we think carefully cultivated, hand-picked, we think pesticide-free, healthy and nutritious. We may think bohemian, freethinker and free spirit, or we may conversely associate organic with prestige, affluence, exclusivity and privilege. The concept of organic food and horticulture echoes the pastoral authenticity of antiquity. It initially surfaced as The Green Revolution in the 1940s organic farming movement – a rejection of the emergence of a 20th century bourgeoisie which turned a hefty profit from the manufacturing of inexpensive synthetic fertilizers and from the quick substitution of manual labour by tractors. Present day organic culture poses as a direct response to our times. The organic way of life is quite simply a return to the proletarian, to the wholesome pre-industrial era when plastics and Styrofoam, antibiotics and growth hormones, assembly lines, complex machinery and macro and micro technologies did not overwhelm our agricultural commercial society. Organic makes sense. It’s an innate understanding – a part of our perennial philosophy.

In this day and age, everything organic appears to be a desperate plea to return to everything real. Our era marks the epoch of synthetics – a materialistic world, contingent upon the production, manufacture and distribution of the artificial. The entire cyclic process of mass consumerism and consumption has inherent discrepancies, which create problems within our food supply, food quality, food production and sustainably, in turn affecting our health and the health of our children. Essentially, global supply and demand has become the Frankenstein of modernity. Having fallen down the rabbit hole, deep enough to know its true darkness, there now appears to be a shift in the social psychology of food, consumption, distribution, sustainability, ecology, the environment and the profound impact of our human footprint. People want to climb back out and see the light. It starts with the small things – thinking locally to act globally : communities re-launching their social initiatives, growing their own vegetables, ploughing and tilling their own fields, supporting their own local products; individual city dwellers buying plots of land to grow their own gardens or transforming their own front and backyards to accommodate fresh fruits and legumes; larger multilateral and multinational corporations reshaping “greener” objectives to support more sustainable programs; the global political sphere entertaining green theory and its “far-reaching” ideas of ecocentrism and sustainable development.

While the human condition intrinsically encompasses a level of extremity, it is only natural for us to want to tip the scales back in our favour by revisiting the “eco-friendly” philosophy and the rustic appeal of a simpler organic palette. Although the trendy pop culture of everything organic has become the latest mass media phenomenon, attentively developed into the multibillion dollar industry it is today, organic doesn’t have to mean “exclusive to.” The Penticton Lakeside Resort & Casino started its own organic garden twelve years ago, with the holistic idea of producing fresh herbs and vegetables to be incorporated into the foods of our hotel restaurants. This year, we will be expanding our herb garden to Hickory Road Farm, a local smallholding, which will produce a larger amount of organic products for our hotel. This will allow us to further support general principles about organic food management, practising environmental awareness, sustainability, ecological balance, soil integrity, natural pest management, natural plant fertilization, optimize biological productivity and promote sound state of health.

An organic garden symbolizes more to us than just a means of providing food; it is a representation of what is feasible in a community, where people can collectively take the lead in producing healthy, nutritious food in harmonious support of their local economy. This year our early planting of Chef’s garden is already underway. Chef Remmington has planted an assortment of Chinese greens, from Tatsoi, a well loved Asian mustard green, with a sharp, spicy flavour that tickles the nose, Jui Choi, with its dark-green leaves supported by thick white stalks, which are mild and juicy with a hint of mustard, Mei Quing, also known as baby bok choi, Tah Tsni and Chinese Yuki to name just a few, are some of the colourful arrangements you can see and taste in our garden and foods this summer! However look out for some other favourites yet to come! Soon we’ll be planting rhubarb, sage, thyme, garlic chives, bush beans, purple carrots, three types of basil, strawberries, edible flowers, mini kiwi, rainbow Swiss chard,lemon balm, patty pan squash,bay trees and oregano.

So come on over and enjoy some fresh local ingredients at our restaurants this spring and summer, and taste the distinction organic makes not just to the flavour of our foods, but to the projected future of our fragile interconnected global ecosystem. The difference starts here.






Easter Sunday Breakfast Brunch!

Glorious spring has finally arrived and Easter is just around the corner! But what is Easter all about anyway? Why do some of us spend time hiding chocolate eggs for the kids’ Easter egg hunts, share magical stories of the Easter Bunny and paint and dye eggs to be placed in beautifully decorated baskets-made-to-look-like-birds-nests? Most of us follow and accept these customs without a second thought, but if we were to actually take a moment to think about why, we would find that ironically, bunnies and eggs have a close symbolic relationship with the true religion behind Easter.

Easter is traditionally a celebration rooted in the history of Christianity and is the most significant feast in the Christian liturgical year; however, similar to Christmas, it also commemorates a mythical figure that bears gifts to children the night before the particular holiday. The duplicity and integrated symbolism of this date allows for many people from all walks of life to enjoy and partake in its celebration, making it especially unique.

While early 16th century accounts from south-western Germany and the Holy Roman Empire detail the “Easter Hare” as a legendary being who gives eggs to young children, the contemporary version of the Easter Bunny that we all know and love today did not emerge in North America until the 18th century, (a custom brought over by the European settlers). The allegory of the hare (or rabbit) and eggs focused around the Spring Equinox, represents a multilateral approach to fertility, while springtime brings forth new life, crops, food, flowers, greenery, longer days, and warmth after a barren winter. Religiously, the symbolism of the egg may directly correlate to the resurrection of Christ, as an egg encloses and conserves within it, new life. Moreover, whereas Easter marks the end of Lent, habitually, there would have been an abundance of eggs during this time for which to make use of. The Easter egg, as a popular symbol of new life, is commonly celebrated in folk traditions all across the Slavic nations.

Although the origin of the conventional custom of coloring eggs is unknown, it has its bearings in both seasonal and religious sentiments. Natural dyes within flower petals and root vegetables, when boiled with eggs, will turn the shells various colours, (thus making this custom very seasonally-specific) while many Christians of the Eastern Orthodox Church customarily dye their Easter eggs red, in acknowledgment of the blood of the sacrificed Christ. There exists numerous egg-decorating techniques worldwide, and the giving and sharing of decorated eggs varies from country to country, be it a representation of friendship, love, good wishes, unity and appreciation.

So whether you choose to celebrate Easter as a religious or secular holiday, Easter is nonetheless a family and friends affair, and what better way to get in the Easter spirit, then to join us for a truly memorable Easter Sunday Brunch Breakfast in our Grand Ballroom at the Penticton Lakeside Resort & Casino! We’ll be serving an extensive selection of everyone’s all-time favourites for only $24.95 per person! Reservations are recommended and you can contact us directly at: 250-493-9772.

Lobsterfest at the Hooded Merganser!

We can’t talk about the glories of spring and the Easter weekend without also mentioning our annual Lobsterfest at the Hooded Merganser!

So dust off those bikes, get out the lawn mowers, pull out the spring wardrobe and sink your teeth into some succulent lobster along with a refreshing glass of Alexander Keith’s Tartan Ale for only $35.00 plus tax – a springtime celebration not to be missed! With live entertainment by the Malarkeys, a dynamic Irish rock band from Kelowna, coupled with great food, and unparalleled views of Okanagan Lake, why would you want to be anywhere else on a Saturday night?

Reservations are a must, so call us at: 250-487-4663.

The Bufflehead Pasta and Tapas Room: Eating out and the Culture of Dining Experience

Let’s toast to another successful Okanagan Fest-of-Ale!  With incredible food, a motley crowd of people from all across the Okanagan, first-rate entertainment, colourful booths and an outstanding selection of North American beers to sample and enjoy, this year’s fest was a must on the bucket list! With the sunny season just around the corner, Fest-of-Ale trumpets the arrival of everything summer sensational, serenading a slew of upcoming events that consolidates a broader social community within the South Okanagan.  That brings us to this week’s topic of discussion: eating out and the culture of dining experience.

Now and then it’s a comfort not having to fuss over the cooking process, refraining from the mechanics of food experience in order to indulge in the experience of food itself. Food at a restaurant seems predisposed to taste better than food prepared at home. Strip us of our responsibilities and mandates, even just for a moment, and we are free to enjoy ourselves without the burden of contingencies.  Of course, it’s not to say that home-cooked meals aren’t some of the best to be had; yet there is something profound about the idea of “dining out” that extends to a more sentimental and integrated philosophy.  We like to think that “savoury” is not just a word to describe food, but a word to describe the experience food embodies, and it’s one of those words that comes to mind when attempting to illustrate what dining out actually means.

Our Bufflehead Tapas and Pasta Room is a place where fine food and experience converge.  The relaxed, warm ambiance of the dining room allows you to get away without feeling too far from home.  Throughout the seasons, we have shared many glorious nights with guests either lounging in front of the fireplace or sitting out on the patios, el fresco, under a fading dusk. The dining room, a bold statement juxtaposing subtle modernism with traditional accents, is a call back to a more classical era of swanky postwar European lounges and bohemian-esque bistros in trendy urban boroughs.  To put it plainly, The Bufflehead Tapas and Pasta Room transcends.  As a blend of old and new, it appeals to a myriad of tastes, preferences and experiences. 

The idea behind tapas and pasta is a way of eating that simply makes sense. In today’s society, and especially in North America, we’ll posit to say that many of us have lost that social, interactive and cherished aspect of food.  Too many of us are too busy to take a moment to laugh with a loved one over a decadent dessert, ponder life with each deliberate twist of spaghetti, explore a range of flavours while indulging in conversationally-charged evenings with family and friends, or lounge quietly with an intimate glass of wine, just enjoying the beauty of each moment for what it is.  Pasta and tapas is a culinary ethos that inspires the deliciously rustic, historical and collective – a return to the basics – where fresh, back country ingredients encourage conversation and multifaceted experience, making every bite just that much more delectable.

This coming June will be The Bufflehead’s one year anniversary!  We have had a successful year, and look forward to the buzz of the summer, with many upcoming events and occasions to commemorate.  The Penticton Lakeside Resort’s new Executive Chef, Chris Remmington, has launched a revised menu this week, featuring fresh vegetables with a roast garlic and herb dip, a selection of cured meats with house-made pickles and cheeses, crab stuffed mushrooms, pesto chicken pizzette, Italian ribs, lasagne turkey Bolognese, spinach and goat cheese salad and jumbo south pacific prawns, to name just a few.  Additionally, we have a fabulous scotch selection and are introducing a newly expanded wine menu, which will feature award winning wines worldwide and from across the Okanagan Valley.  Come and be a part of Girlfriend’s Night Out, a weekly event on Wednesday evenings, where we celebrate local businesses, with many draw prizes and luxury giveaways!  What is more, our 2 for 1 tapas and featured wine and martini make it the perfect night to indulge with colleagues, friends and family!  So for anyone who truly enjoys eating out, and who seeks to explore and contribute to the dimensional, comprehensive and epic aspect of food experience, come and partake in a little piece of worldly sophistication at an affordable price, right at your doorstep!

 

 

 

Fest-of-Ale 2011

Well it’s that time of year again!  Fest-of-Ale is here, and the moment has come to toast a new era of beer and beer drinking, as the latest inspirational flavours from across North America come to Penticton to inspire our palates and wet our appetites!  However Fest-of- Ale is much more than just a two day celebration of international brewing.  It is a return to epic ideals, a leap into all things warm and fuzzy, a social buzz, a release from the humdrum and the everyday monologue; it is quite frankly, a really good time with really good people.

When we think of beer, I’m sure many of us can conjure up a glorious montage of lazy afternoons in the sun, social weekends, barbeques, family picnics, a well-earned, deeply gratifying ice cold satisfaction after a long day on the snowy slopes, or on the mountainous trails, or maybe just a quiet spare moment spent alone in silent consideration.  Whatever the association, beer in itself is a profound icon, the juggernaut cocktail of an ancient perfection, which inspires and preserves powerful memories, sentiments and relationships.  The image of beer in a frosted glass or right out of the bottle or can, hits home for many of us, summoning that “ahh” sensation that can intimidate even the most sophisticated of wine connoisseurs.  The very act of beer drinking is transgenerational and appeals to an overall sense of calm, inner contentment, repose, social connectedness, unity and quiet reflection. Beer is a grassroots movement, a beverage that connects us all on a fundamental echelon of humanity, as it transcends social and geopolitical barriers and does not discriminate against socioeconomic class, race, and religion.  So how can we encapsulate in a phrase or two the epilogue of beer?  It is undeniably the sweet nectar of antiquity, the unorthodox tool of human development, the constantly evolving flavour of mankind’s dichotomy – epitomizing our need for both reckless abandon and stoic contemplation – and of course, beer is always a constant reflection of present-day society.  Who could imagine such a complex reality from something so seemingly simple?  And yet, in spite of all this, we are just as eager to take beer at face-value for what it means in our everyday life: a great drink for a great time!

The Fest-of-Ale is a celebration and collaboration of many different types of beers featuring award winning microbreweries from across Canada and Western United States.  Each beer style is considered based on its aroma, appearance, mouth-feel, flavour and strength of alcohol present. While this festival is a coming together of peoples who share a common interest and purpose, (to taste, drink, consume and enjoy a range of beers) this event echoes from the history of beer itself and celebrates not only its very colourful evolution, but also its ever-changing state.

Dating as far back as possibly 9500 BC, beer is one of the oldest prepared beverages in the world.  During the medieval period, beer became a dietary staple and was consumed by almost everyone on a daily basis as a vital source of nutrition.  Beer also carried with it medicinal properties, which allowed people to live longer, healthier lives.  As uncanny as it may seem, beer in fact catalyzed the development of farming, and encouraged man to keep records of harvests, receipts of payment and exchange of goods and crops, as well as recorded recipes, all of which lead to advances in economics and mathematics.  What’s more, unlike the process of wine-making, which begins with the naturally occurring fermentation of crushed grapes due to yeast found in the skins, beer requires an extended knowledge of different grains, germinating times, and yeasts, to which there are thousands of variations. Frankly, the sheer complexity of beer is astonishing.

The Penticton Lakeside Resort & Casino has been participating in the Fest-of-Ale for over a decade now, and we’ve been honoured with the People’s Choice Award several years in a row.   This year, look for our colourful country western booth, as we pay homage to the Wild West in a true saloon style setting.  Authentic wood swinging doors, a pot-bellied stove, and colourful personalities will transport you back into North America’s rich history, where gold rush madness, thriving prairie settlements, cattle country, Hudson Bay trading posts, military outposts and forts came to embody the idea of the New World. Our very own Barking Parrot Bar will be serving up an all-time favourite, Californian chicken sliders, in-keeping with our inspired country western theme.  Of course, the experience wouldn’t be complete without our very own Joe’s Garage, also a People’s Choice winner and a Vancouver-based, Roxy Nightclub resident band, who will be there to make sure you rock out and have fun!  Join us, April 8th and 9th, from 4-9pm on Friday, and 12-6pm on Saturday at the Penticton Trade & Convention Center.  Tickets are available in advance only.  We hope you’ll enjoy the festivities and amidst the spectacle, take a moment, as you take a swig of ale, to reflect and appreciate our long amazing, rich history that embodies every glass.