I went looking for any online references to the Vanilla Pod, a great little gourmet restaurant here in Summerland. Instead, I found the Joie Gastronomic Guesthouse and Farm Cooking School in Naramata, which looks like an amazing concept and location. What a cool idea to offer lodging and cooking lessons together. I also bumped into the site of a winery around the corner from us. There's a great little cycling loop around the base of Giant's Head Mountain that takes you past a couple of wineries -- looking forward to a tasting tour or two in summer.
We hit the Vanilla Pod last night with Myron and Tracey, to sort of celebrate the waning days of their pre-children lifestyle. Ironically, we had both of our rugrats along, which made for a challenging outing. The restaurant seems sort of out of place along the quaint Swiss-village-style main street -- it's almost too hip. Supper is too pricey, but the food is excellent. If you're up for some amazing, adventurous eating and don't mind spending extra for great flavours, it's worth checking out. We're realizing that we have simpler tastes, demanding kids, and less disposable cash these days, so it wasn't as good a match as we had hoped.
I had the pasta special with a creamy white-wine sauce and delicious sea bass. None of the entrees really suited Tannis, so she ordered two amazing appies: yam fries with mushroom gravy and lamb skewers with two outstanding sauces. A couple of Nelson Pale Ales and suddenly we were in the $50 range. The service was a bit uneven -- our waitress was accommodating enough, but Tracey's food came five minutes after everyone else's and she spilled My's beer without bothering to clean it up. I think next time we'll try one of their cheaper lunches, maybe without the kids along. Anyway, we were extremely glad to have this kind of upscale eatery in town for the couple of times a year when we've got urban-chic friends in town.