Insects on the menu for Vij’s restaurant

From Now Public: Insects on the menu for Vij’s restaurant.

The world is in a frenzy to help protect the environment and lead ‘green lifestyles’. Meeru Dhalwala, the chef and co-owner with husband Vikram Vij, is adopting this go-green attitude for their Vancouver based restaurant- in the form of BUGS.

That’s right! They have decided to introduce insects to their menu as green cuisine. Dhalwala has argued that insects are environmentally positive, and can provide a much healthier protein than that found in meat. The next step is seeing if consumers have the stomachs to tackle the yuck factor. [continue]

I’m not interested in eating insects, but I’m willing to try anything on the menu at Vij’s. The place is amazing, and we dined there regularly when we lived in Vancouver. Now we (well, my husband, really) cook from the Vij’s cookbook, which is also outstanding.

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Oooh, this Chocoatl place sounds like it’d be worth a visit. From the Vancouver Sun: Sweetness from way down south.

When Thelmis Velgis opened Chocoatl in Yaletown a year ago, he dove deep into chocolate and history. Figuratively speaking.

The shop specializes in chocolate drinks long established in Mexico (going back a couple thousand years), but new to Vancouver.

The name of their shop, Chocoatl (pronounced choco-atel), comes from the Aztecs. "There are two theories about the meaning," says Velgis. "Choco means bitter. ‘Atl’ could mean water as they didn’t use milk. The other theory is that the word mimics the "choco-choco-choco" sound the wooden molinillo makes when it’s whisking foam in a chocolate drink," he says. "It used to be a delicate art. Now we have steamer machines."

At the shop, chocolate lovers can try hot chocolate made with chocolate infused with lavender, rose, champurrado (corn), spices or orange. They do the infusing process themselves. His chocolates are single origin products, meaning they are from one farm. "I have friends in Central America. I have my importers," he says.

Soon they will be making their own chocolate in Mexico, he says. "Why? Because I can do it. It’s not that much fun buying it already made. You don’t get the quality you want. If I make it myself, I can choose where the cocoa beans come from to get a specific taste. It’s like coffee."

In Mexico, he says, chocolate has been primarily a drink and cooking ingredient. "It’s more traditional to drink chocolate than eat it," he says.

The first chocolate drink in Mexico was a mix of ground cocoa beans, water, wine, and peppers. The Spaniards tweaked it by heating the mixture and sweetening with sugar. Once it hit England, milk was added to the beverage. [continue]

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