Autumn Leaves Me With Delicious Memories

A seasonal message from Barbara-jo:

This past Monday, I drove to Seattle for an event with Tom Douglas. The event was a cookbook social—great idea. On Tuesday afternoon, I arrived back at the shop. As I walked through the door, I was overcome with joy. Wreaths decorated the windows, ornamental snowflakes were cascading from the ceiling, Sarah McLachlan's holiday CD was playing and Vicki Gabereau was holding court. The Season has begun.

Not that autumn hasn't been especially delightful. We started off another wonderful season with our reading club. And our social club—with its MEAT theme—has enlightened us all. I was pleased to be invited to the amazing lunch in New York hosted by Daniel Boulud. I watched as Daniel spoke to the New York media of a deep affection for Vancouver and his ensuing project here. As a born and raised Vancouverite, I felt a warm sense of pride.

With help from some of our city's best chefs and restaurants, we promoted the season's best books in fine—and sometimes downright exotic—fashion. Jeffrey Alford visited to promote Beyond the Great Wall with an amazing slide show. And we ate a bug—actually a whole bunch of artfully prepared bugs—with the encouragement of Meeru Dhalwala. Other guest authors included Elizabeth Baird, David Tanis, Aliza Green, Raghavan Iyer, Anna Olson, Warren Geraghty, Jennifer McLagan, Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg, Bonnie Stern, Andrew Carmellini and Gwen Hyman....

We organized a fundraiser for the UBC Farm—a cause that is both near and dear to me. I am so encouraged at how our city is embracing the desire to keep the farm active and evolving.

This past season, I had the privilege of fulfilling a lifelong dream. I have always wanted to pick grapes in Italy. Knowing this, Anthony Nicalo of Farmstead Wines took me to Piedmonte to stay with vinaroon Renato Fennochio. I had my first experience working the harvest with the Fennochio family who are dedicated to growing the finest grapes and producing the best wines.
I enjoyed taking the train from Piedmonte to Paris—a city I hold close to my heart. When I jumped into my taxi at Gare Lyon, I said to myself, "I'm home". As much as I appreciate the country and the people who work the farms and keep us well fed and healthy, I always feel a special longing for Paris.

I came home to a whirlwind of events at the shop. We took a selection of our favourite books to Whistler's annual Cornucopia event. Along with the scheduled guests and authors, I was pleasantly surprised with a wee visit from Michel Roux. Other interesting events? I was invited to a reception to meet Jean-Georges Vongerichten, another celebrated chef who is coming to our city. Richard Jaffray, owner of the Cactus Club, hosted an intimate luncheon, complete with 98 Dom Pérignon Rosé, to introduce new menu items created by Rob Feenie. As I've always said, Rob's food never fails to ensure sweet dreams.

As the New Year approaches, we are surrounded with news of uncertainty and horrendous events. But I am happy—and grateful—just knowing that I keep my bread buttered by doing the work I so enjoy. When I wake in the morning, I cross my fingers and hope that others will be happy with what I do too.

So I now say, CHEERS! Here's to a well RED year. RED is our current mantra meaning we feel the best solution to sustain a healthy world is to READ, EAT and DRINK (responsibly, of course). We just posted our winter events schedule on the website, and have printed schedules available at the shop so you can get well RED this January and February.

Barbara-jo McIntosh

December 4th, 2008