Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Spot Prawns at Blue Canoe in Steveston Village -- #NWRoadtrip Part 2

The many views at Blue Canoe in Steveston, B.C.

I love the random synchronicity quality of twitter-- Earlier in the day I’d seen a series of tweets from Lindsay Anderson about her early morning adventure fishing for spot prawns in a secret location. Little did I know we would be eating those very prawns that same evening at Blue Canoe in Steveston Village.

{You can read Lindsay's account of the spot prawn voyage with Chef Danilo Ibarra on board to assist in the catch here.}

While Steveston Village is only 15 minutes away by car from downtown Richmond, it’s a world away in terms of culture. Originally established in the 1800’s, Steveston, located at the mouth of the Fraser River and the Pacific, became one of the largest fishing and cannery facilities in the British Commonwealth. Today the area is still the place to find the best catch of the day, but shopping, dining, and whale-watching are the economic mainstays in the waterfront village.

In my last post I wrote about our dining experience in Richmond at Vivacity. And while our host was very friendly and cordial, we were indeed the strangers in a strange land that evening. But the minute we walked into Blue Canoe, it was like stepping into a family reunion-- welcoming, relaxed, and fun.

Set on a pier above the Fraser River, Blue Canoe offers great views from the dockside tables and they even provide blankets draped over the chairs in case you get a chill.  We didn't need the blankets, the glass panels on the deck kept the wind at bay, but it was a nice touch. 

As I mentioned at the top of the post, the spot prawns were on our minds and our host and server Bonnie suggested we start out with them. It was... dare I say it...a spot on suggestion.

Spot Prawns all start out life as males and then become Liberace...well not really, but they sure have the star quality one might associate with Liberace. In the prawn world they reign supreme and are only available during a short six week season. They looked to me like mini lobsters and they had a very sweet and rich flavor that was enhanced by a mixed melon slaw and grilled lemon.

Sable fish with orange-ginger-miso glaze

For entrees we each tried one of the fresh fish offerings of the day--Halibut, Trout and Sablefish. I chose the Sablefish, which is also known as black cod.  It was so perfectly cooked the flesh flaked right off like petals from a rose, and its rich flavor, was as Barbra Streisand might say..."like buttha”. The ginger-orange-miso glaze was an ideal support and accent to the dish. I was tempted to run off with my plate and hide so I did not have to share with my table mates. But their dishes were equally delectable. Honestly, I didn’t even take notes about their plates as I was so entranced by my own, but Mattie covers it well here.

I loved the wine Bonnie recommend, a Pentage Pinot Gris from the Okanagan Valley. It had a delicate peach fuzz hue with lychee and citrus flavors, and great minerality that paired well with the entrees we ordered. The wine seemed expensive, but apparently the taxes on alcohol are very high in Canada.  

For dessert, Chef Ibarra drew upon his Nicaraguan heritage and presented a tres leches cake that had all my favotite elements--chocolate, coconut, whipped cream, and caramel--with a plump gooseberry on top. I have no picture to show because my fork won out over my camera in a contest of willpower. 

Bonnie, Chef Ibarra and Kristen aka #PowerStrip
I felt very at home with everyone at Blue Canoe and I started to brainstorm ideas. Yes friends, while most people have a few drinks and relax, I get all markety in my head and conjure up new business ventures. Ask anyone who has traveled with me, and they will testify-- as the hour draws late, or if I am lulled into in a place of contentment from fabulous food and wine-- I start riffing marketing ideas like a monkey on crack.

Chef Ibarra was great fun and a good sport for agreeing to pose in our signature road trip glasses. He was so laid back and charming, I was thinking he would make a terrific TV personality and should have his own cooking show. Blue Canoe could dock a nice tricked out house boat next to the restaurant where guests could hang out and kick back as he prepared a fresh catch of the day for the cameras and audience at home. I think the show should be called Houseboat Chef!  Remember, you heard it here first.

The NWRoadtrip Travel posse with Chef Ibarra in the center
Have no idea who these people are. 
The beauty of visiting Richmond or Vancouver, B.C is the East meets West aspect. If you are hankering for the flavors of the far east you can find it in Richmond. When you desire some excellent seafood in a casual setting, head west to Steveston Village. And remember, if you do go to Blue Canoe, keep an eye peeled for a houseboat docked nearby. Tell Danilo I say hello.

** DISCLOSURE: See here for previous sponsorship verbiage on this trip, but I’d like to add to the disclosure that while our meal at Blue Canoe was sponsored by Richmond Tourism, the camaraderie and rapport we established with Chef Danilo Ibarra, and our server Bonnie, was completely spontaneous and generated entirely on our own. **

Blue Canoe
3866 Bayview Street #140

Follow Chef Danilo Ibarra on Twitter

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