At Raincity Grill in Vancouver, British Columbia, eating locally is not just a trend—it’s a way of life. Owner Harry Kambolis started the eatery in 1992 as a celebration of all things Vancouver and helped define Pacific Northwest cuisine in the process.
The restaurant’s approach—the more local, the better—is realized through several area artisan farms that provide the ingredients for the high-end but down-to-earth cuisine. Raincity’s 100-Mile Tasting Menu offers local delicacies, among them Pacific prawns, Muscovy duck and an assortment of cheeses.
“It has been very exciting and rewarding to see the change in the way we eat over the past 15 years,” Kambolis says. “Now Raincity is able to work with small-lot farmers to procure food products that are grown as food, not as a commodity. This ensures we all get a quality product and a better quality of life. Our chefs are able to keep things simple and let the natural flavors shine, which also makes for a healthful way of eating. Overall, the way our 100-Mile Menu has been embraced is win-win for all involved: the farmers, the restaurant, the chef and the diners.”
The following recipes are adapted from Raincity Grill’s 100-Mile Tasting Menu developed by Chef Peter Robertson. Look for local ingredients to make your own version. Though not for the beginner cook, these gourmet recipes will prove to dinner guests that local doesn’t mean simple or boring.
Yogurt-Honey Sorbet with Macerated Blueberries and Jelly of Mead
This tasty treat features two of nature’s wonder foods: antioxidant-rich blueberries and nutrient-packed honey. Finding local honey and berries in most areas of the United States is a snap (try your local farmer’s market or check www.LocalHarvest.org.). Use antibiotic- and hormone-free milk and yogurt from local dairies, if possible.
This side dish is a cinch to make.
Confit Leg, Grilled Breast of Fraser Valley Muscovy Duck, Root Vegetables and Onion & Thyme Froth
Raincity Grill makes this recipe with local root vegetables and Muscovy ducks from Fraser Valley, British Columbia. If you can’t find local and naturally raised ducks in your area, try this dish with locally raised free-range chicken. (To find locally raised and free-range meat and dairy products in your area, check the extensive state-by-state listings at www.EatWild.com.)
Vancouver, British Columbia, has a long history of urban gardening—dating back to World War II allotment gardens—and today a whopping 42 percent of the city’s citizens are involved in food production, either at home or in community gardens. Vancouver Urban Agriculture encourages young people to connect with plants and support biodiversity through community, school and rooftop gardens; food mapping; and urban seed saving. For more information, visit Vancouver Urban Agriculture at www.VancouverUrbanAgriculture.ca.