Restaurant: Seasonal 56
Cuisine: International/American/West Coast/Pacific Northwest
Last visited: September 21, 2011
Location: Langley, BC
Address: #201 – 26730 56th Avenue, Langley Twp
Price Range: $30-50 (Mains $20-25)
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
Ambiance: 5 (for Gumboot dinner)
- Casual fine dining
- Pacific Northwest cuisine
- Farm to table
- Showcasing Fraser Valley
- Hidden gem
- Cooking classes
- Gumboot Dinners
- Neighbourhood favourite
- Local wines
- Dine in/some frozen dinners to go
- Lunch Tues-Fri: 11:30am-2:30pm
- Dinner Thurs., Fri. and Sat from 5 pm
Boogie shoes are fun, but so are gumboots! I traded in my high heels for something a bit more appropriate for this occasion. I was invited by Seasonal 56 to attend their special Gumboot Dinner which happens occasionally.
It’s not what you’re thinking… but wait, what are you thinking? I thought it was going to be a dinner where the dress code was gumboots. I also thought it could be a dinner involving some wild mushroom and vegetable picking. Being literally located in the deep end of the woods of Langley, BC, my guesses weren’t too unreasonable… okay well maybe the first one was, but hey I wasn’t the only one that showed up in gumboots! In fact 4 out of 24 of us did!
So what is a Gumboot Dinner? It’s actually an intimate dinner where guests can meet, eat and converse with local growers, producers and winemakers specifically from the Fraser Valley. It is created and hosted by Chef Adrian and his wife Shannon at their restaurant Seasonal 56, a casual fine dining restaurant and hidden gem in Langley. The multi-course dinner is served family style over a long communal table and it’s limited to 22-24 seats including the producers, so they do recommend you to book early.
The farm to table concept is taking the culinary scene by storm. It seems to be the theme of every restaurant. Buy local and seasonal. Some restaurants are very capable of showcasing this philosophy, while others use it as a marketing strategy. Seasonal 56 falls in the prior category and it was well showcased at this Gumboot Dinner. The producers featured this evening included One Love Farms, Thiessen Farms, Glorious Organics Co-Op, and winemaker Mt. Lehman Wineries.
Since the menu was created especially for this gumboot dinner, with the ingredients provided by the producers of the evening, I can’t comment on the food on any regular night. The food was gourmet, yet simple. None of the ingredients were new, but the theme was certainly well displayed with healthy, hearty, fresh and familiar vegetables dominating plate by plate. The proteins and sauces were very well executed, but some of the side vegetables were a bit overcooked. Preparing gourmet food in masses is always a challenging thing, but the experience was unique. It’s great for people living in the area, and I guess if you’re a hardcore “foodie” or food and wine enthusiast you’ll make the trek out.
When it comes to the farm to table theme, this is exactly how I like it served. Casual, in generous portions and I could even scrap the table cloth. Sitting in smaller round tables of 4-6 would also be nice to get to know everyone. I’d say outdoors would be even better, but who am I kidding? I’m an indoors kind of girl.
Talking to all the producers and learning about their products is always fun for me, but if you don’t care to know where your food comes from, then you might not see value in this experience. On the other hand you will be well fed and the courses are very generous. You pass around the dishes just like you would at Christmas dinner.
Gumboot dinners are $60 per person / $50 per diners club members. See here for details. Due to the nature of the event and it being a one time menu, I’m not going to go into too much detail regarding the food.
On the table:
One Love Farms Beaver Dam Pepper Relish with Agassiz Farm House Fromage Fraise on Crostini – It was a simple appetizer to start the evening. The pepper relish gave a nice spice and I could see it being an easy condiment for hamburgers, paninis or cheese platters.
Tortilla chip topped with Thiessen Farms Pheasant, One Love Farms Tomatillo Salsa, and Fraser Valley Corn Crème – This was my favourite appetizer. Sliced fingerling potatoes would have been nice as opposed to a chip, but to be honest I actually loved the crunch the chip brought to the dish. The sweet corn and tang of creme fraiche was well played with the savoury pheasant.
Chilled One Love Farms Tomatillo and Simple Roots Farm Cucumber Soup; Lemon Cucumber and Crème Fraiche Garnish – I found this quite salty, but it was a great appetizer next to my Pinot Grigio from Mt. Lehman Wineries.
House baked One Love Farms Delicata Squash Biscuits and One Love Farms Pepper and Cornmeal Muffins – I really wasn’t expecting freshly baked house made bread and this was much appreciated. I hope they do it for all their dinners. The buttermilk biscuit was super tender and moist and almost cakey and the cornbread was crispy, moist and sweet.
Glorious Organics Celebration Salad with Friesen Farms Tomatoes, Glen Valley Fennel, and Organic Balsamic and Local Honey Vinaigrette – And that is what I call a salad! This is farm to table! I loved the wholeness of the ingredients and the edible flowers and herbs from Glorious Organics made for aromatic flavour and great colour. The meaty plump tomatoes were sweet instead of tangy and it was more fruity than acidic. Some added grapes, cheese and nuts would have been great, but I’m not complaining. This was the definition of beautiful is simple.
Douglas Farms Beans with Shallots, Thyme and In Seasons Farm Hazelnuts – This was a basic side but it was slightly overcooked and I could have used lots more hazelnuts because the flavour and texture was a quite hidden and lost. Perhaps a drizzle of hazelnut oil would have done the trick.
Glorious Organics Fingerling Potatoes with Brown Butter – Another simple vegetable side dish. The potatoes were beautiful and the skins just popped off and exposed a creamy buttery potato flesh. Some thyme, rosemary or sage leaves would have been great with this.
One Love Farms Delicata Squash and Sage Risotto served in Delicata Squash Cup – I think I’m one of the very few that actually ate the entire squash cup… including the skin. For me it was soft and tender enough to eat. Also skins on vegetables and fruits contain the most nutrients, so as long as their washed well, they’re fine and delicious.
Thiessen Farms Pheasant Breast with Local Portobello Mushroom and Pheasant Jus – I loved this. The gravy was very well made and meaty portobellos are always a favourite of mine. It was a creamy rich gravy and the pheasant was tender and moist.
Thiessen Farms Squab Breast with Glorious Organics Mulberry and Squab Jus – I’m a fan of sweet and savoury so I was a fan of this. It was a very rich jus and I loved the syrupy sweetness from the berries in it.
One Love Farms Delicata Squash Ice Cream and Ginger Cookie Sandwich with One Love Farms Pepper Caramel – I had two of these they were so good. I already love ice cream, and the more interesting sounding something is, the more I want it. This is the most unique ice cream sandwich I’ve had to date. When you get inspired to want to re-make it at home, you know you had something really good. I’m planning to make a version of this for Thanksgiving.
Churros with Hopcott Raspberry Sauce – The raspberry sauce was tangy and lemony and full of fresh fruit flavour. It was fantastic alone, but it wasn’t the best sauce for the churros and it was a bit dominating. Chocolate is classic with churros, but not quite suitable for the farm to table theme.
Agassiz Farm House Fromage Fraise and Chocolate Panna Cotta, Agassiz Duck Egg Meringue and Boozey Hopcott Strawberries – Ah, and there’s the chocolate! So maybe chocolate does suit the farm to table theme? The strawberry, duck egg, and edible flower components brought it back to the theme, not that chocolate ever needs an excuse to be on any table.