Fresh and Foraged on the Sunshine Coast

PaintedBoatTheRestaurant

[trip style = food & wine + weekend getaway]

On a recent trip style = weekend getaway on BC's Sunshine Coastone of the most gorgeous stretches of coastline in CanadaI was taken by a food tale I had to tell.

It's not everyday you eat so local that your food is sourced from the nearby forest and ocean floor.

Every year between May and September, THE Restaurant at Painted Boat Resorta hotel we recently featured in our Roam+Board seriesopens its ocean-facing doors to the landlubbing and seafaring public. {While you can reach THE Restaurant by car or foot, you can also paddle or sail upto its deep-water marina and stop in for dinner.} Carved into the water's edge and suspended over a secluded cove, the sunset views rival some of the most sultry skies I've seen in my travels.

Though this savory stunner is more than just a fabulous facade. It has substance too. With deep ties to local suppliers like the butcher five minutes away, a nearby organic produce farm and BC-caught Ocean Wise* seafood, Head Chef Michael Riley doesn't just wax on about sourcing close-by cuisine because it's de rigueur or it looks good in his bio. For him, fresh is best and he has the foraging know-all to prove it.

*Ocean Wise is a designation given to fish caught in local waters via ethical and sustainable practices. 

Mirroring the coast's tradition of "getting out of the city and getting back to the land", Chef is an outdoorsy guy whose regular kayak excursions and hikes pair well with his culinary skills. Curious about foragingsomething I've never done though free food is literally in my backyard—I accompanied him on a tranquil mission in search of sea asparagus sprouting from the ocean floor. We not only found it and cut a small bounty with kitchen scissors, we ate a few sea-salted sprigs right off the beach while doing so.

Oyster mushrooms were also in season, so en route home we stopped by a nondescript trail barely visible from the main road. Less than 500 meters into the woods, his eagle eyes spotted the right kind of mushroom. Truth be told: while snipping the foraged fungus off the trees, the urbanite in me had a quick and silent freak out wondering if we were somehow picking the right mushroom. Michael immediately calmed my fears, telling me the exact shape he was looking for, including its color, texture and age characteristics. Freak out averted. 

While you won't spot oyster mushrooms or sea asparagus on the main dish list at THE Restaurant, you will see the latest foraged find as a menu accoutrement. And while basking in the end-of-day glow with a glass of BC wine and spot prawns caught in the surrounding sea, you'll be tempted to stage a sit-in and eat all night long.    

THE Restaurant at Painted Boat Resort 

THE Restaurant at Painted Boat Resort 

Greens from Henry Reed Organic Farm on the Sunshine Coast

Greens from Henry Reed Organic Farm on the Sunshine Coast

Seared Ocean Wise halibut in a butternut squash puree with ricotta gnocchi 

Seared Ocean Wise halibut in a butternut squash puree with ricotta gnocchi 

Visiting the world's only organic sturgeon caviar facility near THE Restaurant. This world-class product will soon be featured on the menu.

Visiting the world's only organic sturgeon caviar facility near THE Restaurant. This world-class product will soon be featured on the menu.

Heading out to find sea asparagus with Pedals and Paddles kayaks

Heading out to find sea asparagus with Pedals and Paddles kayaks

Cutting sea asparagus with kitchen scissors {PS. They're uber-crunchy and taste like a young, briney asparagus}

Cutting sea asparagus with kitchen scissors {PS. They're uber-crunchy and taste like a young, briney asparagus}

In search of oyster mushrooms with Chef Michael Riley

In search of oyster mushrooms with Chef Michael Riley

Oyster mushrooms in the wild

Oyster mushrooms in the wild

Foraged oyster mushrooms breaded, pan-fried and served with yuzu sauce and local greens

Foraged oyster mushrooms breaded, pan-fried and served with yuzu sauce and local greens

Our foraged sea asparagus, sautéed and added to Mr. Trip Styler's sablefish 

Our foraged sea asparagus, sautéed and added to Mr. Trip Styler's sablefish 

Do this: Pre-dinner, sunset drinks at THE Restaurant's outside bar  

Do this: Pre-dinner, sunset drinks at THE Restaurant's outside bar
 

[photos by @tripstyler, taken as a guest of the hotel]