Friday, July 29, 2011

Norma Kenney House

Norma Kenny House at Mission Heritage Park
Who knew that the Norma Kenney House is now the hot new restaurant in Mission? I moved away from Mission a decade ago, so I was definitely amongst the ignorant.

The new chef and management scores top marks on affordability, style, taste, and aesthetic presentation. I went there for lunch during the Mission Folk Fest last weekend, and was expecting fare that would deal with my hunger in a basic kind of way, but nothing fancy. What I found was choices that included:

Chilled Plates
Lemon Marinated Oliver Medley $5.50
Marinated Herring, Sour Cream, Red Onion $5.50
Smoked Salmon, Pickled Red Onion, Capers $8.50
Cheese Sampler, Biscuits, Crostini $8.50
Meat Sampler, Crostini, Grainy Mustard $8.50
Marinated Artichoke Hearts, Lemon, Garlic, Cumin $6.50
Hummus Dip, Crostini $4,50

Hot Plates
Roasted Garlic Chives, Herb Cream Cheese, Crostini $4.50
Sautéed Prawns, Garlic, Thai Chilli Paste $8.50
Roasted Chorizo Pork Sausage, Celery Seed Slaw. Lemon $7.50
Greek Meatballs, Lemon $7.50
Cheese Bread, Celery See Slaw $5.50
Pan Seared Scallops, Pickled Red Onions, Truffle Oil $8.50

That was only the half of it. This was just one of the menu pages posted outside the door. Inside, there were four more pages in the menu that also included main dishes for evening meals, all priced utterly reasonably, as well as a desert menu - all homemade fare.

For lunch, my friend had the New York Cheesecake with Blackberry Compote. It tempted me too, trust me, but I was stern and declined to order one as well. After all, I was already stuffed with the luncheon special of the day: Creamy garlic carrot soup, with a scone, scrambled egg with lots of fresh veg and a garnish of pickled red onions. That, and a damned fine cup of java.

Norma Kenny, whose legacy to Mission was not only of vision but also of the roll-up-your-sleeves kind of hard work, was the key person responsible for saving Mission’s Heritage Park for future generations. She would have been thrilled had she lived to see how it has all played out. Unfortunately, Norma died in 1990. 

Her husband, the renowned band leader Mart Kenny, died about five years ago at age 95. I miss them  still.

As the Lieutenant Governor Iona Campagnolo said in a speech in 2003,

I would like us to remember Mission’s beautiful Norma Locke Kenny, beloved wife of Mart Kenny and ... the wonders of citizen engagement, of co operation, collaboration and finding common ground between people, across the artificial barriers that have been built between us is the key to advancing the human agenda and to sustaining our world.  By your presence here this afternoon you are saying “I am proud of our community” and “I will be a steward of its sustainability” now and tomorrow!

You don’t have to live in Mission to enjoy this. If you are driving up the Fraser Valley on your way to somewhere else, it is well worth stopping in. An amble around the flower gardens in the adjacent Mission Heritage Park after lunch would probably be in order. Or, if you are driving westwards heading for Vancouver later in the day, supper looks pretty darned good too. And they are licensed, if you would like a glass of wine to complement the meal. Also, the park is handicapped accessible, and the view from the deck of snow caped Mount Baker, well, it’s like they say in those credit card ads. Priceless

PS The restaurant is actually known as The Blackberry Kitchen and their opening times and menu details are on their web site - which I found after I wrote this post. Duh!

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