As the seasons change so too do many restaurant menus. Comfort foods, inspired dishes and old standbys are the order of the day – hearty repasts to keep us happy, sated and coming back for more. Let’s dig in, Penticton!
At Wayne and Freda, three new brunch dishes have been added to kick-start weekend mornings. Tuck in to duck confit potato hash with a soft poached egg, greens, roast potatoes and Piave cheese cream. Those luscious roast potatoes also feature prominent in the new “toast” with smoked salmon, pickled onions, tzatziki and Piave cream, and the simpler two poached eggs on toast with cured herb sausage.
(For those unaware, to confit is to cook slowly over a long period of time, and in its own fat, in this case duck fat. It’s an ancient French preservation technique that delivers tender, salty, herbaceous and flavourful end results.)
The fall menu at The Bench Market offers two new healthy driven options.
First, the Vegan Bowl sees chickpea-turmeric fritters over baby greens, super seeds and avocado with ginger-miso gravy and crispy coconut crostini, and the Avocado Toast is layered with two sunny-side-up eggs with oven-dried tomatoes, fresh cut salsa and a side of seasonal fruit.
Also, a brand-spanking-new retail freezer once again offers the Bench’s great soups to go, pasta dishes, shepherd's pie and a handy selection of Two Rivers meats, including bacon and sausage.
Unbeknownst to me, the donut, that iconic hole-in-one, is celebrated every Friday at the Bench. Full-on gluten and buttery brioche dough, proofed three times for optimal layering and texture, is the vehicle for classic treatments of cinnamon sugar and glazed, with the occasional offshoot of Callebaut chocolate-dipped or jam-filled varieties. The donut holes are offered on Saturdays, to keep you coming back. Moist, tender and sweet, of course they go great with coffee.
Elma Restaurant has expanded their offerings as we settle into fall and winter. Adding heft to the meze menu, find charcuterie and traditional Turkish condiments and pickles, or the roasted mushroom and onion conserva. Options abound on the share plates side of the menu with a short rib kebab highlighted by a pomegranate glaze with mint, green tahini and grains. Soul-warming seasonal soups hit the spot as does lamb aleppo gozleme, a hearty stuffed pan bread, and a mushroom-focused flatbreads (pide) from the oven.
Find also a few more meatless options such as the vegetarian walnut kofte (meatball), and antalya beans, essentially a warm bean salad with tahini and vinegar, pickled vegetables and a poached egg.
For carnivore party fare, order the tomahawk steak, a 56-ounce bone-in wonder, served with a pomegranate and mint jus, a verdant zhug sauce, seasonal herb and roasted onion salad and smoked salt. (Note: 24 hour advance notice is required for this monster.) And word has it that Sunday brunch is in the works for mid-November.
You’ve heard of the triple-O, but at Gusto Ferrari, the triple-S – that’s soup, salad and sandwich – is being rolled out for a weekday lunch special. The quick lunch consists of a house forno-baked panino with a meat and cheese – and sometimes meatball – treatment along with the daily soup, anything from classic minestrone to ginger squash, and a side salad of Caesar, Greek or fresh greens. Also of note, the pizza menu continues to expand with three new pizza biancas (meaning no tomato sauce). The mozzarella with pears, Gorgonzola, walnuts and honey is a standout.
Front Street Brasserie heralds the seasonal change with their seductive slow braised and achingly tender pork cheeks in a wickedly-rich apple brown butter sauce topped with toasted pine nuts for texture and nuance.
Slackwater Brewing recently launched their fall/winter menu, and introduced table service – yay!
Options at lunch include a hefty grilled Taleggio cheese sandwich, and healthy veggie and quinoa bowl, with all lunch choices served with soup, salad or house chips. There is also the very shareable flatbread on the all-day menu; a 12-inch thin crust holds up combinations such as brisket with smoked tomato barbecue sauce, mushrooms, Gruyere and jalapenos.
Heartier options rule at the dinner hour with fisherman’s pie of tender halibut, Arctic char and plump prawns held aloft by a phyllo pastry nest, luxuriating in a tarragon and lemon cream sauce, or a proper tuck-in of tender Two Rivers strip loin with creamy potato mash, seasonal local vegetables and a green peppercorn-Porter gravy.
The seasonal menu change at The Kitchen at Time Winery runs deep, and includes a wicked duck confit en croute. Essentially a pot pie, the rich dish consists of a mirepoix of vegetables sautéed with garlic and herbs, roasted cipollini onions, mushrooms, peas, duck confit meat and rendered housemade guanciale (cured pork jowl) in a rich and creamy duck gravy. Topped with buttery puff pastry, it’s baked to order, brushed with extra butter and garnished with fine herbs and Maldon sea salt flakes. As chef AK Campbell notes, “it’s not for the faint of heart.”
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. This column runs every other Tuesday in The Herald.