Every once in a while, you stumble upon a truly magical dining experience. Chef Abul Adame at The Kitchen at Misconduct Winery on the Naramata Bench of Penticton, BC has crafted a truly unique menu with Portuguese, Spanish and Mexican influences. Dave and I were blown away by the flavours and service provided at this quaint and rustic family-feel restaurant.

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When we walked in and were seated on the patio with an incredible view of the vineyard below and Okanagan Lake in the distance, with Portuguese music playing to add to the festive ambience, we were already impressed. Little did we know the food adventure that was awaiting us!

Our server was wonderfully friendly and very knowledgable about the wines and the Portuguese tapas menu. We were intrigued by the Chef’s Choice option provided. She explained that for $65 per person, the chef would choose each course and pace for us, to create a special dining experience.. until we said “Basta” – enough! Of course we had to try it!

We started by choosing a wine off the menu, the Syrah Malbec, Suspect Series 2008. Our server praised our taste, and considered it a great sipping wine that would go well with all the courses. She also told us this was one of her favourites and that there were only a few precious bottles left. It had a wonderful deep and smooth taste that we fully enjoyed. Apparently the rest of the diners caught on, and by the end of the night, there wasn’t a single bottle of this Syrah Malbec left. That’s the great thing, and the not so nice thing about a small winery. You can find incredibly special wine, but it is always made in such limited supply you have to enjoy it while you can.

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We were basking in the sunset, and watching a family picnic on the grass below us, when our first course arrived – a plate of mixed olives, a toasted walnut, chickpea and roasted garlic spread, a cranberry and goat cheese spread, a baguette and prosciutto with honey-chipotle mustard. It was an absolutely delicious starter, and we especially loved the chickpea hummus. The toasted walnuts and full roasted garlic clove made the hummus really interesting. I could have had a jar full!

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Our second course arrived shortly following. It was a plate of mussels with clams and Massacre Rose wine broth, a large grilled sardine and a
classic tomato bocconcini with fresh basil and aged balsamic vinaigrette. The star on this plate was the winery’s Massacre Rose in the broth… perfect for dipping bread into! The sardine was a bit too difficult to get into without having to pull out some small bones, but it was still fun to see a whole fish on the plate.

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Our third course was an absolute masterpiece of simplicity. We had watched the chef come out to the BBQ on the deck to grill up some lettuce, and we were delighted when the grilled romaine with maple-balsamic dressing and shaved parmeggiano arrived. Something about the smoky and crisp flavour of the lettuce, mixed with the sharp flavour of the cheese and sweet maple balsamic dressing was inspirational. It all came together in harmony and was sensational. It was also smart as a third course, as it was nice and light and we still had an appetite (almost) to continue on with the meal.

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In fact, it was at this point we tried to say “Basta” and ask for the final dinner course of Paella to follow. Our server came back and told us the Chef refused, shaking his head saying “don’t worry about it.” So, we didn’t, and continued to go along for the ride.

The fourth course was totally worth it, and probably my favourite plate of the night. The Carne Asada was a mexican-inspired meal of steak, black beans, saffron rice and guacamole. The saffron rice was the best I have had, and the steak, black beans and guacamole had just the right amount of heat.

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While we didn’t say “Basta” again, the Chef did slow things down for us and allowed us some time to get comfortable. It was over a half hour before our fifth course (and that pacing really helped us get ready for it). The Misconduct signature paella was Dave’s favourite plate of the night. This dish of Portuguese saffron rice, chorizo sausage, mussels, clams, roasted chicken and prawns was exquisite. The best paella either one of us has ever had – a bit smoky and sweet, with incredibly fresh ingredients.

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Our sixth and final course was a piece of peach cheesecake made by the mother of our server and some equally wonderful dragonfruit green tea. As we sipped on our tea, we watched the Chef’s family (kids and wife) wind down the restaurant for the night – washing cutlery and helping out in many small ways. It really felt like the past 3.5 hours of dishes had been lovingly prepared by a friend, making it one of the most beautiful meals we have ever experienced.

As we walked out into the night, and before slipping into a glorious food and wine coma, we thanked the Chef profusely for our meal. He humbly nodded and said he was glad we enjoyed it. The understatement of the century! We will be remembering this meal for years.

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