Ocean Wise Mystery Tour

I was invited to take part in the amazing Ocean Wise Mystery Tour on January 21st , a unique event to celebrate 5 years of the Ocean Wise program. The event was kicked off with a champagne reception at the Vancouver Aquarium where we made a toast to the 5th year anniversary for Ocean Wise and their achievements.

Dr. John Nightingale - President & CEO Vancouver Aquarium

The “Ocean Wise Turns 5” Media Dine-Around was very well organized with 6 groups of media along with an Ocean Wise representative sent around on buses to a couple of restaurants that were Ocean Wise certified around the city. Bus transportation was courtesy complimentary from Landsea Tours (sustainable transportation).and they took care of us during the evening. We all attempted to guess on which restaurants we were being taken too. The surprises were well worth the intrigue and mystery. I learned some new things about the Ocean Wise program and why it is such a great model for consumers as well as the suppliers and restaurants.

My group was fortunate to have Dr John Nightingale as our leader for the evening, this gave me a chance to talk to John who is the President & CEO of the Vancouver Aquarium and to learn a lot about their Ocean Wise program. We also were lucky to have Chhaya Jagpal the Marketing & Promotions Manager of the Vancouver Aquarium with us. Our first destination unknown turned out to be to the Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co in Lynn Valley in North Vancouver. I hadn’t been to this location and was pleasantly surprised on how large the restaurant was and to the extent of their participation in Ocean Wise. Here we were fortunate to be able to dine with Dominic Fielden, President of Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co and to here first hand about his experiences being a part and supporter of Ocean Wise. We had an enjoyable tasting menu here that included 3 courses and pairings.

Pizza Chef - Rocky Mountain Pizza Co.

Our menu at Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co, 1255 Lynn Valley Road, North Vancouver

Fresh Baby Shrimp Bruschetta – warm slices of garlic brushed organic bread with fresh baby shrimp and diced marinated local tomatoes, fresh cilantro and asiago. This was paired with beer – the Howe Sound Three Beavers, Imperial Red Ale.

B.C. Pasta Special – hand cut organic pasta with garlic seared Qualicum scallops, yellow onions, portabello mushrooms, roasted B.C. beets & butternut squash in a lemon, white bear wine cream sauce & topped with crumbled goat’s cheese and chopped arugula. This was paired with a B.C. wine – White Bear, Sauvignon Blanc.

Ocean Wise Flatbread Pizza – organic handcrafted flatbread brushed with garlic oil and based with organic tomato sauce & mozzarella cheese. Topped with in-house orange maple cured wild salmon and fresh shrimp, artichokes, red onion, nut free herb pesto & asiago cheese. This was paired with a B.C. wine – Larch Hills Winery, Gewurztraminer, Organic.

Fresh Baby Shrimp Bruschetta

B.C. Pasta Special

Ocean Wise Flatbread Pizza

Back on the bus we all went onto the second stop on the tour destination unknown, all we new was that we were going higher in elevation. Down the highway we went and up the mountain arriving at a wonderful restaurant that is owned by well known Chef Wayne Martin at Fraiche Restaurant. Here we were treated to a menu prepared by Shaun Snelling Chef de Cuisine.

Chef Wayne Martin - Fraiche Restaurant

Our menu at Fraiche Restaurant, 2240 Chippendale Road, West Vancouver

Dungeness Crab Cakes with bouillabaisse, Fennel and tomato ragout

Qualicum bay scallop carpaccio with pickled fennel, preserved lemon and mustard sprouts

These 2 dishes were paired with a French wine – Chateau Guiraud, 2007, Bordeaux Blanc, France.

Dungeness Crab Cake & Scallop Carpacio

Back on the bus we were headed for C Restaurant our last stop of the evening to rendezvous with everyone at the founding restaurant partner of the Ocean Wise program. Here we were hosted by Chef Robert Clark at C and were treated to a wonderful plated dish.

Chef Quang Dang & Chef Robert Clark

Our menu at C Restaurant, 2-1600 Howe Street, Vancouver

Smoked Baynes Sound Scallop – Denman island herring “escabeche” peashoots in multiple textures, compressed cucumbers, shallot vinaigrette. This was paired very well with a wine from Germany – Selbach-Oster, Reisling, Zeltinger Sonnenuhr, 1998.

Salt Spring Island Goat Cheese and Vanilla Mousse – sapo bravo stone fruits, spiced liquid marshmallow.

These 2 dishes were paired with 2 BC dessert wines and both very good and very different.

Forbidden Fruit Winery – “iced apple dessert wine” Similkameen Valley, B.C., 2007 and the

Vista d’oro Winery – fortified port style wine with Walnut brandy, Langley, B.C., 2007.

Smoked Baynes Sound Scallop

Salt Spring Island Goat Cheese and Vanilla Mousse

On our tour the rest of the dine-around groups spent their evening prior at these other fabulous restaurants who worked so hard to treat us all so well: Aria Restaurant – Westin Downtown, Burrard Bridge Marine Bar and Grill, Revel Room, The District, The Edge Bistro, Griffins – Fairmont Hotel Vancouver; Tapenade Bistro and Zen Japanese Restaurant.

By: Richard Wolak