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Canadians cook butt

"A man's gotta live a long time to run across a more perfect butt than yours," a slyly beaming Paul Kirk said to Kathy Monk.

For the second year in a row, the Boys and Girls of the North swept into the Baron of Barbecue's annual Pacific Northwest barbecue school and competition and gave the Americans a lesson in their indigenous cuisine. OH CANADA!

Led by chief chef, Kathy Monk, and a boy named sous, Mike McCrea, the Dusty's team came back across the border with the Reserve Grand Championship prize ¾ second overall out of 21 teams.

But, more impressively, Dusty’s: The Next Generation, set the Pacific Northwest Barbecue Association back on its heels with a score in the pork butt category as close to perfect as anyone can remember seeing.

"No one, no one scores 179 points out of a possible 180," said an excited Bob Lyon, head of the PNBA.

Tasted by a panel of seven barbecue-sated judges, each of four categories ¾ beef brisket, pork butt, ribs and chicken ¾ was marked on appearance, tenderness/texture and, of course, taste. Nines across the board, from all seven judges, would constitute a perfect score.

"We followed this entry around the table when we saw what was developing," Paul Kirk said, still having trouble believing what had happened. "There was definitely a buzz around this butt."

The best butt ribbon was joined by a second for brisket and a sixth for ribs. Chicken eluded the team again this year but no one’s crying fowl.

Paul Street, Dusty’s manager, was excited with his team’s performance. "We came down here last year and won it all. We came down this year and were almost perfect. When will they learn: mess with the Canadians, get hurt."

Andre’s bear cellar

The Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival featured Spain this year – and Andre St. Jacques.

St. Jacques helped out the Playhouse and garnered a little PR for his Bearfoot Bistro by buying $50,000 worth of wine at the festival last week. Andre says it’s been a good winter, with Americans and Europeans primarily responsible for reducing the inventory in the Bearfoot’s cellar from about $1.3 million worth of wine to a mere $800,000.

Grape reading

The Whistler Public Library’s 11 th annual Whistler International Wine Festival will be held May 8 at the Chateau Whistler. International Cellars Inc. is providing the wine, with the support of the Consulates of Spain, the United States, Chile and France.

Tickets for the fund-raiser are $25 and available at the library, the conference centre and at the door. The wine tasting runs from 7 to 9 p.m.

U.S. reopens border to P.E.I. potatoes

How many potatoes does it take devastate a province and hundreds of farmers? Seventy-two.

It’s not a joke, but then again, since a Prince Edward Island spud producer found 72 potatoes with a potato wart fungus in one corner of his field last fall, nobody has been laughing.

The U.S., a major market for the P.E.I. potatoes, banned the spuds immediately. Only recently have they reopened their borders, but with conditions – all crops will have to be washed, sprayed and inspected for warts before they can be shipped off the island.

Potato wart is not dangerous for people, but can cause unappetizing bumps on the skin of vegetables.