I love going to going to culinary events, and when there are free events it's even better.
I was on the ball and knew that with a two hour free tasting event we had to arrive early. I saw that 400 people had arrived for the free event last weekend and since the event I was going to was held on a long weekend, I knew it would be packed.
Luke and I arrived on the docks where the tents were being set up by chefs and volunteers 15 minutes prior to opening and boy were we glad because the rush came soon after we were allowed to begin tasting.
As I put one taste after another into my mouth, I felt a little guilty knowing that people that arrived mid way through the event would be disappointed that the morsels were all eaten, but really they should have planned like I did. Maybe I just wanted it more. :)
The little free treats probably tasted amazing, but I think if I had paid the food would have held it's own too.
First, I got to meet Chef Rob Feenie and thought that would be the highlight of the event, but I was surprised to find that his food and lack of jokes did not take the cake.
His little smoked salmon and crab sushi roll was yummy, but the food just kept getting better.
Next we tried Chef Michael Noble's dish and he was both funny and warm -- both hugely necessary things after spending three hours on a bumpy boat ride to see whales.
Chef Noble kept giving his pockets of goodness to people in front of him with the biggest smiles and I think my wait must have been due to the whale watching experience because usually I smile brighter than many people.
But even better than his laughs and warmth was that his food was warm! And his name for his dish was a treat in itself too-- Jiffy Pop Halibut in Curry with Pickled Veg. Perfect for a girl camping in Tofino!
What was also funny was that Chef Noble wasn't the only chef naming his food after a favourite childhood treat of mine.
We also got to enjoy Pull and Peel Spot Prawns at dinner one night at the Long Beach Lodge Resort.
Do you remember the fruity licorice treat where you pulled it apart one thin string of strawberry goodness at a time?
These buttery and garlic Spot Prawns were way better than the candy. We sucked the buttery garlic goodness off each bite and then pulled and peeled away the shells with our fingers to get at the sweet treat inside.
Hands on fun and delicious? What could be better?
I left my camera in the car at the restaurant but since BC Spot Prawns are a wild and sustainable treat we got to enjoy them in an amazing spicy soup on the docks that weekend as well.
Spot Prawns are really just shrimp. They're the largest of the seven commercial species of shrimp found on the west coast of Canada, which is probably the reason for naming them prawns but like I said, they're shrimp.
Real prawns are very different from shrimp. To the bare eye they might looks alike and many people just think really big shrimp are prawns, but prawns and shrimp have different gill structures and prawns have longer legs. Shrimp's first pincer are usually the largest, but prawn's second pincers are larger than their first. There are a few other things that separate the species, but I don't pretend to be a marine biologist so I'll leave it to them to tell you about the differences.
And since Spot Prawns are so much sweeter and tender than the shrimp I usually buy that I'll allow them to keep their name of prawn. :)
Anyway, here's a shot of me with a Spot Prawn from my delicious soup made by the Fish Store in Tofino, BC.
My lips are burnt from the wind, my hair is a mess, and I'm still a little queasy but I loved every bite of the treats. Thanks Tofino for a great Feast!
I know I'll be cooking Spot Prawns up if I can find them at my local fish store!