A few years ago, I went with my wife, Pat, and my brother and his wife to the Okanagan Fall Wine Festival in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada. This is a trip worth doing just about any time. Some Okanagan wines are simply amazing. Many have won Silver and Gold medals at international wine competitions. But one thing that made this trip absolutely stellar was a visit to Fresco Restaurant and Lounge in Kelowna, BC.
Looking back on my food journal, the entry starts this way, "I am stunned!!! No other words."
Here are a few of the tastes, and the notes from my journal:
Roasted Dungeness Crab "Cappuccino" -- Crab bisque finished with steamed milk, garnished with fried fennel top and fish roe, presented in a cappuccino cup. Smooth, sharp, complex flavors.
Puree of Quail's Farm Organic Squash, Cardamom Essence, Candied Squash, Spiced Yogurt -- Smooth creamy squash accented by the tang of yogurt with just a quick, guest appearance by the cardamom. After the initial taste, the cardamom shows up and then quickly fades. It is so easy for cardamom to dominate a dish, but somehow this time it doesn't.
Roasted Rack of Range Fed Lamb -- the lamb was done for once the way lamb is meant to be. Soft, succulent, distinctive, but not gamey.
Blueberry Tart with Mascarpone Ice Cream -- The Mascarpone ice cream was like a frozen cheese cake topping a wonderful blueberry tart on an puff pastry shell.
To start, we were served an Amuse Bouche of chilled snap pea puree with a hint of mint and to finish, roasted Italian plums with white chocolate swirl and raspberry chocolate sauce.
Service was excellent, with a very knowledgeable and helpful waiter. As each course was brought, you could see the wait staff muster at the pass and then converge on the table, each serving one or two of us, and giving each diner a short description of the details of the dish as it was presented.
The kitchen was open to the dining room so that you could see the cooks at work. At times they appeared almost Zen-like in their concentration preparing a dish. There was none of the hustle and screaming that food television, and some food writers, would have you believe is necessary in the kitchen. In my opinion, the calm of the kitchen showed in the quality of the food.
The Chef/Proprietor is Rod Butters. A native of my home province, I might point out.
Since that visit, I have recommended Fresco to several friends, all of whom have reported having equally wonderful meals. Now, you know about it, too:
1560 Water Street
Kelowna, BC V1Y 1J7