Schell: So much fish and bi-valve happening this month

A new oyster bar opens with backing from a Kelowna favourite.

Oysters and the Pilgrim & Pearl.

Okanagan oyster lovers need not fantasize about Vancouver’s many bars dedicated to this lavish, love-enhancing bivalve—we’ve now got our own sexy joint across from city park to melt into at Pilgrim & Pearl.

Walking through the lobby of the Prestige Inn, one cannot help but be drawn hook, line and sinker through the gorgeous glass doors and into the arms of this airy, West Coast-style room.  A beautiful long bar with comfy seating faces the open-air kitchen and heaps of oysters waiting to be fresh shucked for you. There are tables throughout, surrounded by lots of light coming through the large windows, high ceilings with nautical touches perfectly placed here and there. Pilgrim & Pearl has filled a gaping hole in our culinary landscape and the locals are as happy as clams.

As mentioned, they offer a fabulous list of labels for the oyster’s perfect pairing—bubbly, with lots of choices served by the glass. Oh hurrah, how glamourous to able to sip a glass of bubbly chosen from the impressive list of Growers Champagne that focuses on the small producer and includes both local and foreign delights. Then one can peruse the daily list of luscious oysters on feature to slurp with that sip.

The final pearl of wisdom that this restaurant group (The Revival Group) has bestowed on our city is their Revival Hour. It is the Pilgrim & Pearl version of happy hour that occurs during the very civilized hours of 3 to 6 p.m. with West Coast oysters on for a Buck-a-Shuck and East Coast oysters are $2/each. Visit 1675 Abbott St. in the Prestige Hotel.

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The local pescatarian scene has made a resurgence here in the Okanagan with these new seafood focused venues. It is in part thanks to local fishmonger Jon Crofts at Codfather Seafood Market who brought awareness of sustainable seafood and fishing practices to our community and the freshest seafood possible. (FYI-Jon also moonlights as an oyster shucker at Pilgrim & Pearl.)

We can also thank him for allowing chef Ross Derrick to shack up with him at Codfathers with The Table at Codfathers eatery open in house. I fell hard for Chef Derrick’s fish and chips with smoked tomato aioli dip and even harder for his Korean-style fried cauliflower. This is also a gluten intolerant friendly joint—the fish batter is made with awesome NextJen Gluten-Free Flour blend that is also available for sale at Codfathers.

Everything on his seafood-centric menu is seriously delicious and super fresh—obviously he shops from the freshest fish source available (approximately three feet away). I just found out that he also caters private events in the evening.

Currently only open during the day, but there is always the take away option. Seriously delicious food at 2355 Gordon Dr. in Guisachan Village.

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Osoyoos Oyster Festival is April 22 to 25. Check out their website for all of the events lined up. www.osoyoosoysterfestival.com

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