“FieldTrips” is either a day trip or a few days where I visit food areas of interest which may include farm visits, producers, wineries, restaurants and/or other places that people can visit. This is about offering Vancouver Foodster readers a chance to get out of town and take a “Field Trip” for the day or a few days to explore, learn, taste and experience.
Field Trip to Osoyoos and Oliver
Leaving Vancouver, driving Highway 1 East towards Hope, we then took the Coquihalla, Hwy 5 North towards Merritt and then 97C East towards Lake Okanagan and then South to Osoyoos, the drive was just over 5-1/2 hours. There is an alternate route along Highway 3 that would shorten the travel time by upwards of an hour.
After we arrived to Osoyoos, we checked in to the Spirit Ridge Resort to stay for a couple of days, a beautiful property located minutes North of the Canada/USA border situated in desert country.
Our corner suite was beautiful with a spacious kitchen and cozy fireplace. The view from the balcony was spectacular with views of Anarchist Mountain and Osoyoos Lake.
The grounds of the resort were gorgeous, native lavender and other flowers surrounded the property, there were a couple of outdoor pools along with a hot tub in two different areas of the resort.
Had dinner at Bear Fish Root Berry where they specialize in modern vineyard cuisine inspired by their Indigenous roots. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Executive Chef Murray Mcdonald leads the kitchen and offers up creative Indigenous dishes.
Lawrence and I had the Bannock & Spreads to share served with white bean sumac spread, roasted hot pepper corn succotash, beetroot relish, garlic fried tomatoes to start.
Next were a few entrees that we shared including the Bison a glorious dish with spruce roast, nettles, hasselback sweet potato, swiss chard, onion petals, mushrooms, spruce jus; the Pacific Halibut yogurt poached was another beautiful dish with green peas, cucumber, seaweed dumplings, lingonberry; and the Rabbit Pasta which Lawrence loved with hand cut chestnut noodles, braised rabbit, walnut, kale, lemon, chard chutney, berry pan sauce.
For dessert, we tried three, my favourite was the Peppered Chocolate with chocolate ganache, cake, and meringues; followed by the Life is Just a Peach with peaches, thyme fry-bread, consommé, ice cream; and lastly the Pimihkan and this was more of a savoury dessert with bison pemmican, saskatoon berries, heirloom corncake.
The next morning we headed into town for a light breakfast at JoJo’s Café a popular local hangout that offers up a large selection of house baked goods, breakfast dishes along with coffees and more. I had a Yogurt Granola Parfait, Blueberry Muffin and a Iced Americano.
After breakfast we spent some time walking and exploring the area including a visit to the nearby Nk’mip Desert Cultural Centre which is situated on the grounds of the resort.
There is an admission fee if you wish to explore the outdoor and indoor museum; once inside the walk is 1.6 km on groomed trails.
We took a drive North to Oliver, known as the wine capitol of BC’s Okanagan region, many wineries are located in this region and it’s only a 15-20 minute drive North from Osoyoos. We visited Hester Creek Winery which was one of the most beautiful spots around.
Here we had a tour of the vineyards along with the wine producing area, followed by a private wine tasting in their tasting room.
After the wine tasting we went next door for lunch at Terrafina by Raudz, a beautiful Tuscan style restaurant where we enjoyed a delicious lunch.
I had their Character red blend 2007 wine with notes of coffee, earthy, spicy which paired perfectly with the Candied Road 17 Char Klippers organic greens, first of the season apricots, pineapple chips, Hester creek Chardonnay & hazelnut dressing, beautiful salad.
We also had the Grilled Veal Loin and chorizo stuffed zucchini blossom Maple glazed with apricot, Vegetable barley salad, Mushroom jus.
We tried one of the pasta dishes enjoying the outstanding Lemon Riccioli with wilted greens, tomatoes, chèvre, Herb crumb, side stripe shrimp; we then had The Terrafina a Naples style thin crust pizza with potato and truffle, asiago, truffle aioli, and arugula.
Back over to Osoyoos we visited Tumbleweed Spirits, at this time they are the only distillery in the area offering a selection of spirits and moonshines.
Adjacent to the Spirit Ridge Resort property is Adega Estate Winery on 45th, we went for a walk and headed over for a visit, another spot with stunning panoramic views of the Osoyoos area. Their tasting room is open to the public, so feel free to drop in when in the area, they specialize in ports as well as a selection of wines.
Later in the day we headed back to Oliver and visited Miradoro Restaurant at Tinhorn Creek a beautiful restaurant with an all-around patio within the winery with amazing view of the Oliver valley; here the kitchen is run by Chef Jeff Van Geest. The restaurant offers a hint of the Mediterranean using locally sourced ingredients.
I had the Heirloom Tomato bisque with croutons paired with a glass of the Tinhorn Creek Rose, it was a wonderful pairing along with the incredible view of the valley from our table on the outside patio.
Lawrence loved the Grilled Baby Octopus with Spicy n’duja garlic scapes, leeks, dill
We then shared both the charred Local Heirloom Tomato Garganelli burrata, basil, garlic, chilies, fennel pollen; and the Pan Seared Sockeye Salmon – salad of baby romaine, rhubarb & cucumber pickle grilled potatoes, radish, tarragon & bagna cauda.
After eating we walked around the beautiful winery and looked at the spectacular scenery.
It was a nice couple of days visiting the Osoyoos and Oliver areas.
Stay tuned for my next Field Trip outside of Vancouver.
By: Richard Wolak
Disclosure: Spirit Ridge Resort provided us with complimentary accommodation, Destination Osoyoos assisted with providing complimentary meals and such. Oliver Tourism assisted with Hester Creek Winery and Terrafina and Raudz. Miradoro Restaurant provided the complimentary meal. As always, all opinions and photos are my own.