As a seasoned (pun intended) veteran of this festival, I have a few observations…
The big acts are getting bigger.
The cool acts are getting cooler.
The food quality is the same.
The drink selection is Molson and affiliates.
There’s a fashion truck this year! Fun.
Nothing mind blowing to report on food-wise. If you’re looking for Gluten Free food, here are your choices:
Smoque Shack (most items without cornbread)
Those cool potato chip spirals
Loaded hot dog (chips instead of a bun)
Gabriel’s Gluten Free Pizza (DISCLOSURE, I have not tried this yet and it’s $20 for a 12″…)
BBQ & Slaw
Wine n Cider n Palm Bay.
Titos mixed drinks. Beware that Caesars often contain Worcestershire sauce which isn’t GF unless specified. As for one without it.
Bluesfest 2015 is well underway and I couldn’t be more excited for the acts to come. I love being in the sun, running into friends, getting to see acts that I’ve loved for years and new acts that surprise me!
If you’re overwhelmed with the lineup, check out my favourite videos from featured artists in GLORIOUS YouTube playlist form..
This year’s theme is On With the Show and for a lot of us, this could be a daily mantra! Mornings are usually a rush and, let’s face it, having a pass for summer festivals can mean not having a lot of time for a snack before heading out in the evening for live music.
This recipe for my Banana Smoothie is really inexpensive and deliciously satisfying, high in fibre and really energizing. It’s totally customizable with whatever toppings you could have on hand and all you need is a blender. This is a go-to snack for me.
Banana Date Smoothie
2 frozen bananas
3/4 tsp cinnamon
4 pitted dates (medjool or baking dates)
1 cup milk of choice
4 cubes of ice
1 tbsp of one or a combo of the following: coco nibs (pictured), toasted coconut, chopped nuts
Throw it all in a blender and blend on high until smooth! This takes about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Top with your choice of something crunch and delicious.
See you at the festival!
If you have a craving for International Cuisine, Bluesfest has a few options. Thai, Jamaican and Greek. Having done some traveling, the authenticity of the Greek food is questionable but at least they have a gluten-free option of Greek Salad. That being said, this food was a saving grace considering that most people rush home from work to go to the festival. As much as I tried to cook for myself and bring snacks, wanting to see all the shows I wanted to actually became quite tough.. not in my early 20s anymore I guess.
I love Bluesfest because I get to run into friends every night. Overall, I had a blast. Saw some amazing and nostalgic bands and there was never a dull moment.
Photos by: Luca Fiore at Dan Rascal
St Vincent (Best performance at Bluesfest, IMO)
Blondie, photos by: Sean Criger
Until next year, Bluesfest!
What was your favourite act this year? Let us know in the comments!
As many of you know, I had spent some time in Ireland after the 12 Week Ballymaloe Cookery Course. What did I do, you ask? Besides writing for the Kerrygold Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine, I took a 2 Week long Business of Food course.
We all hear about food businesses that close, a lot of which have great food, a great clientele.. you name it! So what happens?
To be honest, I wasn’t even sure why I should take this course without having a solid idea of what aspect of the food industry I wanted to be in. All I knew that in some capacity, it would benefit me to know the business side of things. Money, accountants, where to start.. it all eluded me.
The course was taught by Blathnaid Bergin of The Restaurant Advisor and I would highly recommend it for anyone thinking of entering this business. We covered everything from marketing, to kitchen organizing and layout, to food waste, energy waste, accounting and menu and brand development.
Ever since completing it, I look around with wide eyes whenever I go out for a coffee or to eat. Taking mental notes, I’ve become a profoundly picky restaurant critic. But.. not in the way that looks for a crack in a ceiling and says it’s a horrible experience. No, it’s more than that. The realities of the financial risk of owning a business coupled with the general public’s demands for food at a low cost makes me really feel for the restaurants. I am painfully aware of where businesses are losing money and I just want to help them.
The most challenging part about the course was accepting the fact Mrs. Bergin insisted we look to fast food chains as good examples of running a business. The indie artist in me scoffed, rolled my eyes, wanted to run away screaming. But then we got a book called The E-Myth.. a book by an entrepreneur adviser about how most business owners start a business because they are a great technician.. photographer, cook, etc. But they don’t have enough of the entrepreneurial side.. they don’t know how to forecast growing a business properly. Or, they don’t have enough of the business side.. Everyone wants organic and local food, but who is going to buy it at an appropriate price?
Another great example is comparing a very successful coffee shop to an independently owned coffee shop. Why does the independent have 8 employees for the same amount of seats in the bigger chain that employs 3 per shift? It’s usually in the standardization of kitchen, service and cleaning practices. Not to mention the menu itself plays a part on the whole picture right off the bat.
Naturally, when I went to Dublin I checked out the places where Mrs. Bergin and fellow students said were good examples of great places to eat and drink.
First I checked out 3FE, an incredible coffee shop by an award-winning Batista. Check out his story below:
Then, downtown, I checked out Avoca. It’s an Irish retail chain with gorgeous take-out food and a small restaurant.
Then the Fumbally. AMAZING food. Quirky layout.
Finally, Meet and Meat. It was a deli and wine bar. Had the best vibe, and consistent branding throughout the look and menu.
I was only in Dublin for 2 days. If you have any recommendations for where to eat, we’d love to hear from you. Post below!
As for me and what I’ll open up one day? Only time will tell..
To continue Raw Sugar Cafe‘s pop-up brunch series, I have created some scrumptious and seasonal brunch options to treat you this July 26th from 10am to 2pm. Come to Raw Sugar and have your fill of two plate options that I’ll cook up for you personally!
Torched Home-Made Marshmallow and Graham Cracker Stuffed Crepe Topped with Chocolate Sauce, Local Strawberries and Banana
Warm Salad of Local Double Smoked Bacon and Poached Eggs with Caesar Dressing and Pickled Beets
Menu is Dairy and Gluten free and all produce is sourced locally. Everything made from scratch! No reservations.
*As inspired by our July Jamboree episode featuring The Balconies making Strawberry S’mores! Check out the episode below or this month on Rogers Cable 22.
RSVP your preferred menu option so we can try to have enough! firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m writing this as two lovely locals (Jamboree Guest Atherton and Sound of Lions) grace us with their musical stylings. This past week Dan Rascal took photos of Punk-Rockers Average Times and Jamboree Guests Ukrania!
Since I started Eva Bee’s Jamboree, people would often ask me why I decided to combine local food and music in a cooking show. Well, music and food have many things in common..
1) They set the tone of an evening.. either enhancing or clashing horrifically with the celebration or event in hand.
2) They both require an intuitive ingenuity to really be something special. Technical training to execute a master piece of classical music cannot go unnoticed, but a real unique and truly amazing experience of music or food is ultimately done by someone who pushes the boundaries incorporating technical training, spontaneity and intuition of how to please the audience.
3) Teaching someone to cook shouldn’t be a stuffy experience. Or a sport. Or in food-porn. It should be made fun and accessible. We all need to eat so why not teach someone how to make something delicious and have some music on the side and show that even they can cook
Now, why local?
Without going trying to be too obvious or preachy, all I’ll say is that people are craving more and more to have delicious, nourishing food. Did you know that the indie movement is so strong that large corporations are modelling their businesses around those trends? For example.. check out how many mass produced food items say ‘Natural’ on them but are just the same as before?
When we bite into a nice juicy Hintonburger (River Stage at Bluesfest) we know that the 100% local beef patty is healthier, but more importantly tastes better, than McDonalds. However, cost becomes an issue.
Especially as a food vendor at Bluesfest. I know from friends who have sold food there, it’s an enormous cost to be there. Unfortunately, the first thing that usually gets pinched when in a food business is the quality of ingredients. Hearing that Hintonburger charges $3 more for a smaller burger may be the only way to survive as a local foods vendor without using meat that comes from who-knows-whose-cows.
I have to give it to Jamie’s Cracked Corn for being GMO free and Organic. And snack-tastic.
I don’t get the feeling that there are very many food vendors that provide locally farmed food. The fact that Molson Canadian presumably has an exclusivity contract on the festival feels like a giant step backward. A friend, who is also a local musician, said it best that ‘God forbid an Ottawa festival support a locally brewed product’. Many people miss Mill Street beer and reluctantly go for one of the bigger beer options.
How do you feel about the changes in beer? Leave a comment below or share this post if you want to make a change!
Welcome to this year’s edition of ‘Eva Bee does Bluesfest: We Saw and We Ate’ where I document the gluten-free woes and triumphs while attending the festival for it’s amazing local and international acts. Here I’ll show you my photos of them local bands and tell you what’s what in festival food options.
Friday July 4th meant choosing between two local favourites Cold Capital (Blues Rock) and Silkken Laumann (Electro-Dance knockyoursocksoff fun). Fortunately we managed to catch both acts doin their thang.
After a couple days I had some time to absorb what the food options were out there. Since I can’t eat wheat, rye, barley, etc I’m left with very limited options for food and drink. As I surveyed FOOD TOLERANT people, a lot of them said that they couldn’t afford the food options (for full plates averaging around $9) and chose to drink beer instead! Har.
Having just returned from a 6 month European food odyssey, I’m pretty strapped for cash myself which leaves me to do what I know is healthiest and best.. make a big hearty breakfast and lunch and hope for the best!
High protein meals early in the day can stave off blood sugar spikes and crashes which makes a long day out in the sun much more bearable. I’m also really pleased that the festival brought back the water fill-up station. This is an important statement about water rights I’m very happy to see supported at Bluesfest. You can still buy bottled water at the festival (for $2, not as bad as it could be for them cash-hungry vendors) but it’s a great option to have free water.
More on specific food recommendations later. So far, if you’re GF (gluten-free) and generally love great food I recommend getting anything from the East India Company or a Greek Chicken Souvlaki Salad from Greek on Wheels. Otherwise you can get a full gluten-free pizza from Gabriel’s Pizza (River Stage) but it’s cooked from frozen and you need a crew to eat it with you.
What’s been your favourite food at the festival? Leave a comment below or tweet @evayummers!
See you this week at the festival!
Buzz is about Ottawa for this year’s 20th anniversary of RBC Bluesfest.
This is a giant two week festival that really requires some stamina to get through! As much as there are some delicious options at the festival food stands, lineups under the sunshine can trigger some hanger.
Here are a few suggestions for snacks and how to make it through!
1. Water Bottle!
You can’t bring it in filled, however there are water fountains at the Main Stage where you can fill an empty one up all the time. There is usually a line up there but not nearly as long as at the beer tents!
Last year I went absolutely crazy with this Wheat Belly recipe. Gluten-intolerant or not, a 100% nut granola can withstand the heat and is high in protein so that you can stave off hunger longer. This way, you won’t have to leave your sweet spot you snag near the stage because you’ll pass out if you don’t eat!
Everyone knows alcohol dehydrates! Be careful out there party peeps – refer to suggestion 1.
5. Eat before you go!
A big breakfast / lunch / dinner can tide you over so you can save a couple bucks for that favourite band t-shirt.
After spending a meat-filled time in Europe I’m finally happy to cook for myself again back home in Canada. This recipe uses left over chicken and is fresh and fast so that it doesn’t heat up your kitchen on those unbearably hot summer days!
Seared Red Pepper, Onion and Mushroom Chicken with Avocado
1 red pepper, sliced lengthwise
1/2 yellow onion, sliced lengthwise
4 white mushrooms, sliced
100g cooked chicken, cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 avocado sliced
Some chopped cilantro to taste
salt and pepper
1tbsp lemon or lime juice.
Heat a heavy skillet on high heat.
Allow pan to heat up for about 2 min then add olive oil.
Add your peppers and onions and reduce heat to medium high. Season with salt, pepper and spices and sautee for a couple of minutes.
Add mushrooms and cook for another 5 min, stirring every minute.
Add the chicken and warm up in the pan for one minute.
Add cilantro and toss briefly and plate immediately.
Add slices of avocado and top with lemon or lime juice.
This makes a light meal for one accompanied with rice or a great paleo meal for those days you don’t want to feel weighed down!
This June picnic, why not make traditional Ghanian street food Kelewele and Irish Sweet Pea Guacamole? Check out our episode below with performance poet Ian Keteku.