Tag Archives: wine

kelseydo Asahikawa & Furano

After five glorious days in Sapporo I was ready for a new environment and luckily the plan was to head to Asahikawa. Unfortunately I managed to get pretty sick when I was in Sapporo with the flu but I tried to be a champ and sported the ‘sick mask’ everyone wears in Japan. No one wears these masks in Canada, except for if there is a SARS/H1N1/Super-flu-of-choice outbreak and even then its only people in doctors offices and hospitals. I don’t know if it actually makes a difference to the rate of spreading/catching the flu but I felt peer pressured into wearing one because I didn’t want people staring at me while I was coughing like an old smoker hag on the train. To remind me of how stupid I looked, Nick decided to sport the mask too. Even though he was 100% healthy, not even a sniffle. He told me it was a sympathy mask. Nice.

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Asahikawa is the second largest city in Hokkaido, and they also had a Snow Festival going on in February but we missed it by a couple of days which was a bit of a shame. The other big happening in Asahikawa is the Asahiyama Zoo! I was a bit torn about the zoo considering it’s like prison for animals but I decided to go anyways for my own personal enjoyment of seeing cute furry things. Sorry animals.

All the animals had these weird tics: one of the seals swam in the same pattern over and over again, one of the polar bears paced the same walking pattern and then swung his head up and down every time he turned, and one of the red pandas licked himself for about half an hour. Maybe that last one wasn’t a weird tic. The wolves just stared out at me like they were drooling over dinner. The only animals that looked like they were having a good time were the penguins. It seemed like they enjoyed the attention they were getting from onlookers.

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I’ve never been to the Vancouver Aquarium but I like to watch the penguin cam from time to time because I think penguins look absolutely ridiculous when they walk. Clearly everyone at the Asahiyama Zoo thinks so too because there was a whole spectacle where the penguins walk about half a kilometer around the zoo. Those birds should stick to swimming.

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Sapporo, Asahi and Kirin are literally the only beers sold everywhere in Japan so it was great to find the Taisetsu Craft Brewery in Asahikawa. I literally enjoyed every single one of the beers they had for tasting. We also managed to find the famed shoyu (soy sauce) ramen that Asahikawa is known for at cheap and semi-hard to find Sugawara. Nick tried curry ramen, which turned out to be the best thing to beat the cold weather.

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We hopped on the cutest smallest one car train to Furano, a quaint town just south of Asahikawa. Travelling by train is a real novelty for me, I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it!

In Furano we stayed in a super luxurious hotel called the Natalux just across from the train station. It was Valentine’s Day. Nick surprised me with an indoor picnic of local treats and goodies from made in the Furano area. Everything was very unique and delicious. I especially loved the squid ink brie and the wormwood Daifuku (rice flour ball). The wine wasn’t too bad either!

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We went to visit the local wine kojo the next day to sample a few more blends. I’d imagine Furano has a similar climate to the Okanagan and thats why they have good crop weather. The wine could be better to be honest.

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We had to try the local specialty while we were in town: オムカレ Omlette curry– an omlette on top of rice with curry sauce and homemade sausages. Arteries clogged!

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Furano was so adorable I didn’t want to leave but there also wasn’t much to do there other than R&R so it was time to move on!

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kelseydo Wine Tour

Nick + I went with a couple friends to Oliver for the weekend. It was epic! We drove in during a thunder storm which was pretty exciting, and spent our days wine touring.

We ended up going to Tinhorn Creek, Hester Creek, Stoneboat, Burrowing Owl + Church and State. There are sooo many wineries in and around Oliver that it was hard to pick the right ones to visit, luckily we got some tips.We will have to go back to try them all!

View at Tinhorn Creek

Fields of Green

Running between the rows

Barrels + Barrels

The Gang

Sipping on Ice Wine out of a chocolate cup!

A bottle of Church + State

N+K= ❤

Ouch!

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kelseydo wine tasting

I love wine. And I love tasting wine. I wouldn’t say I know much of anything about it but I copy what other people do:

swirl, check, smell, sip.

My go-to comments about the wine are as follows:

1) The Mona Lisa: Don’t say anything. Just make eye contact, smile slightly and walk away.

2) The Strong Red Wine: say “Bold” like it’s a pleasant surprise, then make eye contact, smile slightly and walk away.

3)The Drunk: say “Hmmm, boozy” without making eye contact, then nudge the person next to you with an elbow and walk away.

The point is to make your comments as mysterious as possible so that people can’t discern whether you know what you’re talking about, you’re completely full of it or you’re bat shit crazy.

I volunteered over the weekend at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival doing coat check and emptying spit buckets. Coat check wasn’t too bad but spit buckets duty sucked, and not because of the spit but because it was just so damn boring. It was all worth it though because I got a free ticket to the wine tasting room for Saturday night (costs $95).

My parents made a trip over from the island to join me and Nick bought a ticket last minute so that he wouldn’t be left out. I had already scoped the room when I was doing spit buckets the day before so I knew where everything was. We started in the United States and tried Zinfandel from five different wineries. It was interesting to see how different the wine tasted even though it was the same varietal and from a similar region.

I told myself I was going to spit out most of the wine so that I could still have good tasting skills by the end of the night. This never happened. I would take a little sip and pour out the rest if it was no good but I would drink it all if it was delicious. Also, when I started to feel a little tipsy I thought ‘ooh I should spit this out now’ (because it was 8pm and I still had two hours of non-stop drinking to do) but I couldn’t bring myself to spit in front of strangers (or people I knew). I don’t spit….ever….except maybe if I get shampoo in my mouth while I’m showering (and singing). I wasn’t about to start now.

We moved through the Chilean wines pretty quickly and then Nick dragged me over to the Sake. I love Sake but a lot of the Sake here was not good. After I drank the Sake I started feeling like the lights kept getting brighter and everyone kept getting louder and also people were staring at me now…I am pretty sure this was the exact moment everyone in the room became drunk, including me.

I managed to get some port tasting in before my taste buds were completely asleep, which was pretty decent all around. After this point in the evening you could’ve given me any wine and I would have said it was great.

Nick picked up a few bottles on his way out. Here are a couple of the goods:

The winning Zin, 2009 from Folie a Deux

One of Nick's faves, the 2010 Reserva Sauvignon Blanc from Veramonte, Chile

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