Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Belgium comes to Vancouver, sort of

Travelling around Europe with our Swiss friends, the Nicolets in 1980, we found ourselves in Belgium. Fumiyo and the Nicolets ordered beer, I stuck to white wine. "Try the cherry beer," Fumiyo told me, "you'll like it." I found that hard to believe, but indeed she was right, and it's been to my delight that Belgian beer is increasingly available in Vancouver (25 years later!). The Georgia Straight raved about Stella's Taps and Tapas, so of course I had to check it out. The Straight article was particularly taken with the Philippine pork dish called Tosino, which I paired with a beer I often drink at home, Bellevue Kriek, a delicious and commonly available cherry beer. Alas, the Tosino was FAR TOO HOT for my taste buds. I asked the waitress for something not spicy, hopefully of the prawn persuasion, and was delighted with the butter poached Black Tiger prawns, roast garlic lime cream. Unfortunately it didn't go too well with the fruitless beer I had 2nd. The prawns were so good I ordered more. Unfortunately, the new server (I had moved inside to escape the sun) brought me Thai-spiced jumbo shrimp, which took me back to the fiery hell of the Tosino. The glass of chardonnay I'd ordered with it would have been perfect with the butter poached prawns, but was utterly defeated trying to put out the heat in the Thai-spiced shrimp. Still, there are things on the menu I plan to try the next time I go there. The correspondence of the Ginsberg's , a book called Family Business behind the fiery Tosino in the picture, more than kept me company. A very pleasent place. Hopefully their Belgian beer list will considerably expand.


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