3 Days in the Valley: Aman Dosanj’s Foodie Road Trip
A selection of things and places that make Foodie of the Year Aman Dosanj’s heart swoon.
As the force behind the genre-bending space that is Kelowna’s Poppadoms Taste India, Western Living Foodie of the Year Aman Dosanj spends her days gathering the best the Okanagan has to offer and transforming it into locavore magic—so we asked her to sketch out how she’d spend a free (ha!) weekend in pursuit of all things foodie.
I may have an English accent, but the Okanagan has been home for the past six years, and it’s what made me fall in love with food. So when I was asked to dream up my perfect foodie weekend, the only trouble was limiting my choices.
What can I say about chef Mark Filatow of Waterfront Wines that hasn’t been said before? Waterfront is my go-to occasion place in Kelowna. Mark is a humble food genius who is all about international flavours using locally sourced ingredients. The house-made charcuterie board is one of my faves, as well as the Yarrow Meadows Duck (in whatever revision Mark does). It’s also home to two of the most talented young cooks I’ve had the pleasure of working with—Danny Tipper and Nelson Daniels. waterfrontrestaurant.ca
“Made from scratch,” “baked daily,” “local where possible”: these are things you should expect from a French patisserie, but even in bigger cities they’re so hard to find. But fortunately for us in Kelowna, Sandrine French Pastry and Chocolate nails all three. As you walk into the light and airy white canvas, colours of perfectly formed macarons, the buttery, flaky croissants and hand-sculpted chocolates take over. It’s the perfect place to pick up pastries before the Kelowna Farmers Market or before a drive down to the South Okanagan. sandrinepastry.com
En (Wine) Route
On my way south, I’ll pop into TH Wines in Summerland to see my “terroirist” friend and fellow Okanagan Western Living Foodie of the Year Tyler Harlton. We’ve worked with Tyler for a few years now and I’m still blown away by his by-hand approach and the level of care you experience with his wines. thwines.com
Jeff Van Geest of Miradoro Restaurant at Tinhorn Creek is hands down my favourite chef in the Okanagan, and the most out-of-the-box thinker in the Valley. From house-cured meats to wood-fired pizza to spaghetti with braised pork jowl (Buttatini Suggo Al’ Amatriciana), Jeff’s food is just exciting to eat. They also offer communal long-table dinners on Tuesdays for $30 during the slower season. tinhorn.com
Okay, so it’s an expected choice, but Poppadoms is my baby. We’re actually a family-run restaurant: brother Harry mixes classic cocktails with ingredients and spices found in our kitchen; WSET-certified sister Jasmin pairs our menu with Okanagan wines; Mum and I are in the kitchen. We believe in true-to-its-roots Indian food using local produce, and we even make our own paneer (Indian cheese) and Indian-inspired ice cream using local dairy. poppadoms.ca
Just opened in Kelowna this year, Pilgrim and Pearl is the Okanagan’s first oyster bar. The room is light and inviting, with blond wood tables, exposed beams and notes of aqua to give it a New England-type vibe. It’s all about the little touches, with penny tiles along the back bar to resemble the scales of a fish, and the central shucking station where you can watch the chefs at work. Chef Jason Leizert (formerly of Vancouver’s Boneta and also owner of Kelowna’s excellent Salted Brick) crafts a breakfast menu that includes dishes ranging from Crab Benny and Seafood Frittata to Buttermilk French Toast. Sommelier Derek Morrison’s wine list showcases local wines alongside international wines, with an impressive list of bubbles by the glass. pilgrimandpearl.com
There’s something about long-table dinners, watching the transformation of awkward guests navigating their way at a communal table with a bunch of strangers to the journey of passing food and wine around, enjoying conversation and making new friends. And no one does them better than Joy Road Catering’s Alfresco Vineyard Dining at God’s Mountain Estate. Overlooking Skaha Lake, the detailed table is set by Dana Ewart and Cam Smith at a Mediterranean-inspired B&B with a lot of character. When you go to one of Joy Road Catering’s dinners, you are in for a true farm-to-table treat. It all seems effortless, but no detail is left to chance for the Joy Road team. The food is just beautiful; I just don’t have another word to describe it. Make sure you book in advance! joyroadcatering.com