Archive for Travel

Rosemary Truffle Popcorn

Decadence.

That’s what truffles mean to me.

Wait. Let’s get one thing straight, here. We’re talking about the fungus truffles, not the chocolate version, though, let’s be honest, I wouldn’t kick them out of bed for eating crackers, either.

Truffle is one of those flavors that really divides people; most folks I know either love it or hate it. It’s earthy, intense. It smells like bad socks, but in the best possible way. And they are very, very rare and expensive.

truffle popcorn

I’m unsure if the truffle’s hype is partly because of that…. because, as human beings, we tend to romanticise anything that is rare and expensive. Maybe.

Scientists have discovered that the truffle smell and taste comes from a molecule called androstenone (source: The Sporkful). Turns out this molecule is also found in human sweat and urine. I’ll not comment on that. You can read into it what you will.

However you slice it (very, very thin, in the case of truffles), truffles are sought-after and decadent.

It’s difficult to get truffles here in North America. You may pay through the nose for a few shavings over your pasta at a fine-dining restaurant, but for the rest of us, we get our fix through truffle-infused oils and salts.

I have a box of the Amola Truffle Salt I’ve been rationing out on my eggs, popcorn and pasta for the last year or two, but I recently also acquired a bottle of white truffle oil.

I was recently traveling in the Okanagan. Let’s just say with the book, teaching, The Wellness Show, etc, things have been a little stressful in my life. So I took a few days off for R&R. That involved lots of wine tasting, good food, and foodie adventures, including locally-made cheeses. And then we stumbled over this place in Pentiction called Olivia’s Oils and Vinegars.

olivia's oil and vinegar

Olivia’s is a bulk oil- and vinegar-store. There are a few of them in BC, all independently-owned (I’ve put together a list at the end of this post), and whenever I find one, I’m like a kid in a candy store. I go around and taste everything, try different combinations, and generally spend a lot of time and a lot of money.

One of the oils I came home with was the white truffle olive oil. White truffles, as it turns out, are even more rare than black truffles, and I know I probably shouldn’t waste this expensive product on something so plebeian as popcorn, but there’s a kind of poetry to it, y’know? Taking something so common and every-day, and dressing it up in finery.

Plus, y’know. Truffles.

So, here you go. A little something to fancy up your Friday night. Even if you eat it in your PJs while watching something trashy on Netflix. Everyday decadence.

Rosemary Truffle Popcorn

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup popcorn kernels
  • 2 tbsp butter, butter substitute or butter-flavored olive oil (Olivia’s sells that, too)
  • 2 tbsp truffle-infused olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp truffle salt
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary

Method

  1. In a small saucepan, place the butter (whichever version you are using) and the truffle oil, as well as the sprig of rosemary. Heat gently, just until warmed, don’t allow it to boil. Turn off the heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Discard the rosemary.
  2. Pop popcorn using whatever method you like. I like to do mine in a brown paper bag in the microwave.
  3. Pour popped popcorn into a large bowl and drizzle over the butter/truffle oil. Sprinkle with truffle salt, toss, and shove into your face in large handfuls.

Where to find Oil- and Vinegar- Dispensaries in BC

(please comment below any I’ve missed)

Vancouver: Vancouver Olive Oil Company, 2571 W Broadway

Victoria: Olive the Senses, 9–1701 Douglas St

Gibsons: Sunshine Coast Olive Oil Co, 305 – 287 Gower Point Rd.

Okanagan: Olivia’s Oils & Vinegars, Kelowna – Orchard Park Mall & Guisachan Village, Penticton – Riverside Drive

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What I Ate: Portland

Ah, Portland. Keeping it weird. We fit right in.

Michael and I spent a little more than 24 hours in Portland, as we were there researching a story I’m writing on donuts.

keep portland weird

Now, when you go to Portland, there are three things you have to eat (or drink). The first is beer. There are close to 100 breweries in the Portland area, so there’s something for everyone’s taste. Secondly, you have to eat at a food truck. Unlike Vancouver where our food trucks roam (and are sometimes found in different locations), in Portland, they have more or less permanent pods of them. They basically have taken over city parking lots. The food trucks line the perimeter of the block, and the vendors park their cars and trucks inside. There are tons of these pods all over Portland. Thirdly, you must eat donuts!

We did all three, as well as slipping in some Powell’s Books. As you do.

hopworks urban brewery portland

Craft Brewery: as luck would have it, we had one almost right next door to our hotel. Hopworks Urban Brewery brews up some tasty seasonal favorites. I opted for a cider, Strawbarbalicious to be exact. This seasonal cider was infused with strawberry and rhubarb, one of my fave combos. Everything here was super local. Michael had a pulled pork sandwich which he loved, and I had a really nice salad featuring a local blue cheese.

the grilled cheese grill portland food truck

Food Truck: this may have been the greatest grilled cheese sandwich of my life. I love grilled cheese. It’s my ultimate, go-to comfort food. This was perfection; three different kinds of cheeses (from nearby Tillamook), all oozing together in melty perfection. But it was the perfectly toasted outside of the sandwich that really got my heart racing. The Grilled Cheese Grill knows their stuff. If you’re brave, try the “Grilled Cheesus,” a burger, made with grilled cheese sandwiches in the place of buns!

portland donuts

Donuts: I’m writing an entire blog post on this alone, but we visited 4 different donut places (we were meant to visit 5, but one was inexplicably closed). You have to start with Voodoo Donuts. You have to. And while you’re there, order something outrageous, like “Captain, My Captain,” a donut topped with Cap’n Crunch. Yeah, you read that right. When I interviewed the owner, he used the word “kooky” about 10 times. And that’s what Voodoo is, from start to finish. Go early to avoid lines.

Blue Star, just a short walk away, is a more gourmet donut, with a much cleaner, more modern space. Both Blue Star and Voodoo offer vegan options.

My fave donut of the day, however, was an incredibly simple glazed old fashioned from Coco’s, also located downtown. It was amazing. Fluffy, but with a nice toothsomeness when you bit into it, sweet but not sickly so. It was perfection.

We also tried Pip’s, an adorable joint that serves up house-made chai and mini donuts that are made to order.

We weren’t there for long, but boy, Portland did not disappoint in the food department.

Where have you eaten in Portland? What were your faves? Share in the comments below.

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