Urban Forager

Left, manager Darryl Jones at Lake Breeze Winery’s The Farmstead Market and Espresso Bar. Right, chef/pitboss David Simenoff at his Flying Pig Barbeque food truck at Abandoned Rail Brewery

Touring and tasting along the spectacular Naramata Bench can generate an appetite. While there are some wonderful restaurants — and pizzas — along the stretch, often it’s just a quick snack, a coffee or cold pop that’s needed to take a break and regroup, especially if you have children or pets in tow. A few new offerings along the journey are addressing just that. Let’s take a look.

Lake Breeze Winery, at 930 Sammet Road, has enhanced their Farmstead property with a slick converted shipping container. Dubbed The Farmstead Market & Espresso Bar, the vibrant orange interior beckons for welcome respite. Find a picnic table among the shady fruit trees for espresso-fueled beverages, cold drinks and cool merch. Test your skills at the giant chessboard, take refuge in the beautiful adjacent working gardens, or say hello to the cutest little piggies playing in their compound. As the season unfolds, there will be freshly-baked fruit pies, and excess produce from the garden (that supplies the winery’s The Patio restaurant) will be for sale. The grand opening is May 30th when caffeine fiends can fuel up starting at 8 a.m. Decorative flags on Naramata Road will announce its presence.

Creek & Gully Cider at 1053 Poplar Grove Road has opened up their patio space, seven days a week, to accommodate any customers wanting to sit and enjoy a bottle or glass of their wonderful cider. But starting in June, you can further enhance the experience with pastries. Every Wednesday and Saturday, a selection of sweet and savoury pastries will be available from gifted chef and baker Dana Ewert from her Grist Microbaker ovens. (There is also talk of sausage rolls.) Fruit from the cidery’s orchard will be showcased in season as well as any organic produce from their gardens.

If barbeque sounds more up your alley, chef David Simenoff is stoking the fires — and tending the meat — from his Flying Pig Barbeque food truck set up at Abandoned Rail Brewing. Pull in for tasty ‘que’ sandwiches, sliders and sides. Simenoff has honed his 20 years as a chef into his lifelong passion for meat cookery. He perfected the nuances of barbeque most recently at the former Smoke and Oak Bistro at Wild Goose Winery, but it was when he attended a National BBQ Convention in Kansas City that the wheels were set in motion.

Brisket and pulled pork are cooked from 12 to 14 hours slow and low, over retired grapevines. The former is rubbed with a signature espresso-garlic blend garnering it a deep dark exterior, and the latter sees a paprika-sugar-dominant blend that works its magic into the smoked chicken legs too.

Vegetarians can join in with smoked Portobello mushrooms, blended with spices, baked into a loaf, and sliced to order.

The spirit of collaboration is also at play here. All the meats are expertly sourced from Oliver’s Black Sage Butcher, where the two co-created the sweet and spicy Andouille sausage — another Flying Pig offering — and the ciabatta and slider buns are sourced through Big Al’s Bakery, another Oliver stalwart.

The ciabatta sandwich is a hearty meal in itself with your choice of brisket, pulled pork or Portobello, slicked with mayo and bbq sauce, with provolone cheese and arugula. And sliders are the perfect choice for any kiddos you have in tow. Two handcrafted sauces add on the flavour ampage: Tangy, with an apple cider vinegar base, and the Signature, a sweet and sticky blend.

And you can’t have barbeque without the sides. Simenoff dishes out the goods with molasses and brown sugar black beans, lemon and dill corn bread, classic slaw and the potato casserole, a twice-baked spud amped up with sour cream, cheese, green onions and optional bacon. Smoked meat purists can also order straight up carne, from two to four items for a full-on smoked meat carnivore fix. Any choice is a perfect complement to any of the brewery’s cool offerings on tap.

Dig in Thursday to Monday, noon to 7 p.m. until October at Abandoned Rail, 1220 Davenport.

With fork and pen in hand, and a passion for culinary adventure, Shelora Sheldan, writer, cook and curious traveller, goes in search of the delectable.