The Hired Belly has been busy eating his greens — specifically kale. Part of the reason for this tasty, new, healthy infatuation (aside from the fact it’s so easy to grow) is thanks to The Book of Kale, a truly handy and all-encompassing tome by Sharon Hanna — arguably B.C.’s reigning Queen of Kale.
Here’s a book that, if you’re into healthy eating, you really can’t afford to be without. And, besides, kale is hot right now, popping up just about everywhere, even on menus such as the Homer St. Café.
Hanna delves deep into the history of the leafy green, which enjoys the cachet (who knew kale could have cachet?) of being one of civilization’s oldest cultivated crops. Even without the extensive line-up of truly well thought out recipes — that range from, naturally perfect kale chips to an irresistible Kale Caesar salad with scalloped kale, brown butter and sage, and plenty more (all sorted by vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options) — Hanna’s approach adds up to a fun but highly informative read. So much so that we’re even thinking of converting our winter window boxes to accommodate a year-round crop.
Given its significant heritage interest, there was never really any doubt that the recently unveiled Homer St. Café & Bar would be able to fly under the radar. The question was whether it would live up to expectations.
No fear there. It’s hard not to be wholly impressed by the ingeniously reworked space that’s emerged within the facade of the historic Homer Building at the corner of Homer and Smithe.
The two-tiered room is positively dazzling, with its immaculate period tin ceiling, restored tiled floors, bright polished marble bar and, overall, a distinctly ‘nouveau’ café feel which more than does justice to its pedigree.
The mood is one of a casually polished brasserie, with a traditionally inspired menu that also focuses on responsible sourcing and a wide array of quality local ingredients. No surprise at the detail and inspiration at work here: the kitchen is under the solid guidance of Chef Marc-André Choquette, who’s nurtured Loden Hotel’s Tableau into one of the city’s best French inspired bistro experiences.
Here the menu is headed by a hallmark, spice rubbed, perfectly golden turned rotisserie chicken served with new potatoes, along with down to earth, rustic but polished tastes such as short rib pie with bone marrow. A wealth of easy to like appetizers roam from crostini with chick peas to terrines, rilettes and a chorizo skillet, all good for matching with one of downtown’s better cocktail lists and smartly chosen array of often hard to find (and often natural) wines.
In short, it’s an easy winner that’s already a popular spot, even more so, no doubt, when the winter rains wash through and this cozy space with its considered down to earth fare will more than fit the bill. Reservations: opentable.com or phone 604-428-4299.
Coming up fast, Beerlesque III at the Roundhouse Community Centre, Sept 20, offers a chance to sample the best of Vancouver’s craft beers paired with the town’s top burlesque dancers. If you like your hops cheekily clad and gently corset laced, this fundraiser’s for you. Tix: $55 includes beer and entrance to the 7 p.m. or 9 p.m. show. Visit beerlesque.com or call the Roundhouse at 604-713-1800.
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