Monday, September 26, 2016

Forage - Vancouver, B.C.

In our trip planning I often make reservations at restaurants before we leave home, sometimes one in every city we stay in. I try to discern any local cuisines we might want to try and look at Trip Advisor and Yelp for suggestions. For our Alaska trip I only booked one restaurant ahead of time and that was Forage in Vancouver. Vancouver is known for its good food and Forage was ranked no. 10 out of 2,836 restaurants. It focuses on local farms and seafood and shared small plates. This is what drew me to it. Chef Chris Whittaker is a local pioneer for responsible eating, using fish recommended for sustainability by the Vancouver Aquarium's Ocean Wise program.
Our first course was conifer gnocchi in brown butter. Judy has always loved gnocchi and I'm only so-so on it. But I really liked this, perhaps my favorite ever. It had a browned crispy outside, somewhat gooey inside, and a very distinctive taste. I asked about it and was told that the small flecks we could see in the gnocchi were conifer tips, basically pine needles, which offered a very interesting and unusual pine flavor, and made me appreciate it all-the-more.
Our next dish, brought out after we'd finished the gnocchi, was corn bread cooked in a cast iron skillet with cheddar cheese and spicy honey. Another creative and nice tasting dish. This super-moist cornbread had large melted sections of cheddar. At least part of the spice was added by bits of jalapeno, or some other type of green pepper. This was great comfort food - stick-to-the-bones, moist, flavorful. I could have eaten much more of it.

A look inside the moist cornbread.
We were hitting on all cylinders. Out came another cast iron skillet filled with foraged and cultivated mushrooms, Okanagan (region of British Columbia) goat cheese and grilled caraway rye bread on the side. The rye bread was good with mounds of mushroom piled on it. This was our second mushroom on toast dish of the trip using wild and foraged mushrooms (the other was in Seward) and I was wishing Andrew could be with us to enjoy it. I liked this one, with the rye bread, best.

The last dish was Turtle Valley Bison Ranch bison ribeye, smoked sausage, smashed potatoes, pickled mushrooms and foraged green chimichurri. This is the signature dish of Forage, probably the most expensive, and the one I was looking forward to the most. I love bison ribeye. Everything about it was good, the ribeye, the potatoes, the sausage, the greens, it all worked. But taking into account the originality, the cost, as well as the taste of the various dishes, I preferred the other dishes more. The chimichurri was different from any I've had, the oil was not separated from the greens and it was almost like a green slime (not saying that in a pejorative sense). I really liked the large pieces of green scallions.
I didn't get a picture until we'd divided into it a bit.
We had a deceptively large amount of food and left stuffed. It was a great meal, worth the advance planning and I enjoyed the creativity of the dishes. 


  1. Ah, the gnocchi. It ranks up there with the gorgonzola gnocchi in Rome.

  2. I'm getting fat just reading all of these tasty food posts.