While you could grab food on the run or get delivery before, an upside to isolating at home to reduce COVID-19 is the bar has been raised.
The bar is raised in terms of food quality and now licensed facilities can offer beverages such as BC wine and craft beer with the meal-to-go.
Restaurants have risen to the challenge to serve patrons and keep as many team members employed as possible. Offerings are elevated in many ways with increased vigilance to food safety, many waiting to ensure it could be done well.
Take TIME Winery & Kitchen in Penticton: TIMEsavours meal kits just launched, which are partially or fully prepared three-course meals for two, ready to heat, plate and serve. These meal kits “are not just about saving time, they are about savouring the taste”. Recently, my husband and I tested them and can confirm the quality is fine dining reflective of Chef A.K. Campbell’s culinary acumen.
TIMEsavour meal kits contain components prepared fresh in the TIME kitchen and packaged such that you can keep them in your fridge for three to five days before serving. With hot and cold components, each kit includes instructions on how to reheat and plate plus the garnishes you would expect in a fine dining experience. In most cases cold preparations are ready to eat right out of the package. Fully cooked, the hot preparations can be reheated in 6 minutes. Well-conceived, these kits will challenge you to get creative and tag @timewinery on Instagram or TIME Winery & Kitchen on Facebook to show your plating skills.
Changing weekly, kits generally contain a bread component, appetizer, entree, dessert, and an option for a paired bottle of TIME Winery or Evolve Cellars wine. Ours was themed a Mediterranean Dinner with items for a Charcuterie board; main of roasted Cornish hen with Parma ham, charred parsnip and shallot, stewed beluga lentils, lemon rosemary jus, garlic chips and preserved lemon; Tiramisu for dessert; and Time Winery Sauvignon Blanc. Priced at $90 including wine, for the two of us, the quantity was such that we had enough for two dinners for two and three dessert servings for two! Limited quantity is available.
The kitchen is open Wednesday to Saturday, with pick-up, 12 noon to 7 pm at 361 Martin Street, Penticton. Besides TIMEsavour meal kits, a couple of the popular menu items are available for pick-up: TIME Burger with a side of TIME Fries and Skillet Mac n’ Cheese. Ordering online (encorevineyards.ca) is easy or call 1-236-422-2556.
It is not surprising that BRODO Kitchen, Penticton, was one of the first restaurants to adapt and respond to the challenge of physical distancing. BRODO, Italian for broth, opened May 2013 with a clear mandate to feature “locally-sourced ingredients in a variety of soups, sandwiches and salads. The menu changes seasonally to reflect what’s fresh from the harvest.” Chef Paul Cecconi had a vision of serving “simply fresh food in the heart of downtown” appealing to a wide audience.
From the beginning with its limited seating, BRODO facilitated dash in and out quick orders and established a strong catering business. Facing Main Street with opening windows intended to reap the benefits of warmer weather days, the space was quickly reconfigured to a takeout window ensuring proper social distancing protocol.
In addition to its regular menu, there are daily specials and a Friday “date night Brodo at home” selection. The wine pairing for date night is in partnership with Township 7 Winery. Order by noon Thursday for Friday afternoon pickup. We recently enjoyed the Crispy Buttermilk and Thyme Fried Chicken date night served with Siracha Aioli; Creamed Corn; and Blistered Bell Pepper and Brodo Pickle Potato Salad.
We also scored the Coconut and Cardamom Carrot Soup, a tasty example of why Chef Paul and his team win so many soup-making competitions! See tastebrodo.com or follow Taste BRODO social media.
Limited Scale at Front Street Brasserie
A hole-in-the-wall size, Penticton’s Front Street Brasserie is huge in the hearts of fans of French-style dining. Owned and operated by husband and wife, John Burke and Lisa Baxter-Burke with their long-time friend/co-conspirator, Kathy Malone, Front Street Brasserie is a casual space with a relaxed pace.
It has closed temporarily during the health crisis although you can support it through the purchase of gift certificates and by making future bookings to enjoy once the doors opened and the patio seats set out once more. If you are like many of its fans and just can’t wait, options are available to book a private lunch or dinner function by calling 1-236-422-2008 to discuss possibilities. frontstreetbrasserie.com/
We participated in a limited delivery service from Front Street Brasserie for dinner-for-two (15 packages only) that you order, pay for online and have delivered to your home within the immediate region.
We enjoyed Crushed Potato Tarte with Double Smoked Bacon, Caramelized Onion Mushroom Duxelles, topped with Aged Gouda and Mozzarella. It was served with Spiced Charred Scallion Crème and Caraway-Dried Cranberry-Cabbage Slaw. You can also select to purchase a recommended wine to pair with the meal.
Exploring Options and Supporting Hospitality
We were content initially to dust off our cookbooks to create family favourites and then experiment with new recipes while physically distancing at home. Still, there comes a moment in every cook’s life when having food prepared by someone else is golden. Three great options, we thank these Penticton restaurants and because of them look forward to exploring more.
The BC Restaurant and Food Services Association (BCRFA) is “a collective group of restaurant professionals devoted to the sole purpose of creating the most favourable business environment” for members. With more than 40 years’ experience and representing over 3,000 members, the BCRFA is on the front line throughout the current crisis.
Check out BCRFA, local tourism and hospitality groups, and your favourite restaurants to view websites and social media to see what culinary adventures await.
The hospitality industry is in financial crisis due to this pandemic. Support the industry, if you can, through takeout and delivery, gift certificates, and donations to food banks and the BC Hospitality Foundation (bchospitalityfoundation.com).
FOOTNOTE: Originally destined last week for another media outlet, this article is a fit with my blog so I’m happy to post it here. Sadly though, the fact the other outlet could not accept it right now is a sign of the times. Publications are struggling to continue given the pressure of reduced advertising revenue and consequently running with a skeleton team.