Events/ Restaurants/ Travel

Feast Tofino: Food Fest West Coast Style

If you’re driving to Tofino, British Columbia, the last major leg is the pass connecting Port Alberni with Ucluelet and Tofino. It’s a windy road and in the winter, chains are required. The thing is, that’s until the end of March. But then, April stretches into May and it’s Spring – harvest time on British Columbia’s West Coast.

On that side of the pass, it’s not harvest from the land so much as from the ocean. Tofino celebrates with Feast Tofino, an event now in its sixth year. Teaming Tofino and out-of-town chefs, the event offers a mix of intimate dinners, a boat-to-tailgate party and even overnight kayaking and backcountry dirt biking events. This year’s Feast runs May 6-22, with a closing event, the Pescetarian Pilau on the Beach, on May 29.

Despite the fact that I’m not a huge seafood eater, I’ve wanted to check out Feast for the last couple of years and finally synced up our nearly annual trip to Tofino with the first week of this year’s Feast. We packed up the car, threw our black lab Finn into the back, and hopped a ferry to Nanaimo. You know, just a hop, skip and a jump, if a drive from Seattle to Vancouver is hop, a 2-hour ferry crossing is a skip and getting across the pass is a jump.

Worth the effort? Heck yeah.  (Vancouverites are lucky enough to be able to fly direct if they’re of a mind to).

At Long Beach Lodge Resort, Chef Ian Riddick teamed up with visiting Chef Amanda Cohen of New York City’s DirtCandy and delivered a six-course extravaganza that spotlighted his strengths in local seafood and hers in making the most of Vancouver Island produce. Set in the Lodge’s Great Room, the dinner had a gorgeous early evening view of Cox Bay and featured wines from Blue Mountain Winery, Hugging Tree Winery, Moraine Winery and Tinhorn Creek Vineyards.

With about 18 guests (I didn’t count, but that’s what it was supposed to max out at), the chefs’ dinner had a more intimate feel and gave you the opportunity to hear from the chefs directly on each course. I’ll talk about the Long Table dinner, the other event we attended in another post, but between the two, this smaller scale event was the winner on experience, quality and value.

For info on this week’s Feast Tofino events, visit http://www.feasttofino.com/play/.

Check out my past posts on Tofino here:

Working Vacation: Tofino, BC + Hank’s Ucluelet (includes a look at a great, if boggy hike to the crashed Canso plane)

What I DId on Summer Vacation

 

feast tofino 2016_LBLR dirtcandy_menu |dailywaffle

A look at the menu for Feast Tofino 2016’s Chefs’ Table with Dirt Candy NYC and Long Beach Lodge Resort’s Great Room.

 

feast tofino_LBLR table

Long Beach Lodge Resort brings Feast Tofino’s boat-to-table theme right into the dining room.

 

Dirt Candy Chef Amanda Cohen's nettle arancini

Dirt Candy Chef Amanda Cohen’s nettle arancini kicked off the evening’s eats.

 

feast tofino 2016_LBLR_dirtcandy_mini broccoli dogs |dailywaffle

Mini broccoli dogs – the second of Dirt Candy Chef Amanda Cohen’s appetizers.

 

DirtCandy Chef Amanda Cohen's nettle arancini

Long Beach Lodge Resort Chef Ian Riddick welcomes guests to Tofino and gives the lowdown on the courses to come.

 

feast tofino 2016_LBLR Chef Ian Riddick and DirtCandy Chef Amanda Cohen|dailywaffle

Chef Amanda Cohen talks about the origin of the Foragers Salad on her menu at Dirt Candy in NYC. Guests at the Feast Tofino dinner enjoyed a version with locally foraged greens.

 

feast tofino 2016_LBLR dirtcandy_foragers salad |dailywaffle

Foragers Salad, Tofino edition included wild watercress, mustard greens, sea beans and cynamoka berry, also known as evergreen huckleberry.

 

Spruce cured salmon with charred onion crumble and fried spruce tips.

Spruce cured salmon, featuring Vancouver Island Salt Co. salt, with charred onion crumble and fried spruce tips. Yes, spruce tips! Lemony good.

 

feast tofino 2016_LBLR dirtcandy_halibut with black radish|dailywaffle

Portland Point halibut with black radish pasta, lemon labneh sauce and mint oil.

 

feast tofino_corn and crab brulè

Crab and corn brulè with a toasted brioche cracker.

 

Dirt Candy's Popcorn Pudding

Dirt Candy’s Popcorn Pudding with butterscotch sauce. Popcorn is steeped in the milk. Seriously delicious.

 

All this and a gorgeous sunset? Only at Long Beach Lodge Resort.

All this and a gorgeous sunset? Yep. Long Beach Lodge Resort.

 

Dirt Candy's Beet Tootsie Rolls

I made my husband wait until the next day to eat these beet tootsie rolls – the final sweet of the evening.

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