Two Gems in British Columbia’s Interior

Saing-Germain co-owner Stephano Liapis delivers a delectable baguette sandwich, including his own pickles.

Stephano Liapis delivers a delectable baguette sandwich, including his own pickles, at  Saint-Germain Cafe Gallery in Penticton, B.C.

Summer is when people flock to the sunny lakes of British Columbia’s interior. Here’s a couple of great eateries from my own recent trip from the Trans-Canada Highway down Highway 97 into the heart of the Okanagan Valley.

Entering *Saint-Germain Café Gallery, in the southern Okanagan city of  Penticton, I hang back to stare up at the menu. This prompts co-owner Stephano Liapis to demonstrate for me that in a Japanese restaurant, I’d be greeted with a bow and a short shout. Then a customer beside me utters a few words in Cantonese. I’ m hoping to extend the international theme with a weekly special, a baked Cuban pork sandwich, but, alas, they’re sold out. So I switch to French and order a Le Jardin, featuring a fresh baguette laden with double brie, roasted peppers, pesto and, a great touch, slices of house-made pickles. I add a small bowl of the day’s Albondigas soup—beef and pork meatballs in a vegetable broth—for a fabulous, filling lunch for less than $10. I conclude things with the best espresso I’ve had in the Okanagan, accompanied by Stephano’s own biscotti.

As the name suggests, Saint-Germain doubles as a gallery, but artist Brigitte Liapis has been too busy with the restaurant side of things to do anything but hang other artists’ pieces on the walls. I can see why. Brigitte and Stephano are a lovely couple, working hard to produce first-class food.

Saint-Germain Cafe doubles as an art gallery

Saint-Germain Cafe doubles as an art gallery

Saint-Germain Cafe Gallery
102, 449 Main Street, Penticton, B.C.
Monday to Friday 8 am-5 pm, Saturday 8 am-3 pm. Closed Sunday
Saint Germain Cafe Gallery on Urbanspoon

Mary Jo Beirnes (left) runs the bustling Shuswap Pie Company in Salmon Arm, B.C.

Mary Jo Beirnes (left) runs the bustling Shuswap Pie Company in Salmon Arm, B.C.

When Mary Jo Beirnes opened *Shuswap Pie Company a couple of years ago, I don’t know if she intended to employ half the youth in Salmon Arm, bisected by the Trans-Canada Highway. But when I go there on a late summer’s morning, at least a dozen young women are bustling around the open kitchen, assembling fresh cherry, blueberry and strawberry-rhubarb pies, pulling meat pies from ovens and serving paninis and quiches to the gathering lunch crowd. I dig through a flaky, buttery crust to reach my steaming steak and stout pie, a rich, flavourful dish that goes well with a fresh-baked muffin and cup of strong coffee. I leave with a whole cherry pie for dinner with friends, who can’t restrain themselves from eating a slice, and then a second, before the main course is ready.

This flaky pastry contains a hot steak and stout pie at Shuswap Pie Company

This flaky pastry contains a hot steak and stout pie at Shuswap Pie Company

Shuswap Pie Company
Unit A, 331 Alexander Street, Salmon Arm, B.C.
Monday to Wednesday 7:30 am-5:30 pm, Thursday and Friday 7:30 am-7:30 pm, Saturday 8:30 am-5 pm

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