Campagnolo on Main Street, Vancouver

It must have been like 3 weeks ago when this happened. For some reason this is a hard to write post. Not sure why though. Maybe this is in the presence of food bloggers and I must be feeling like this had to be perfect. LOL!

So I had been sitting here for the past 30 minutes, playing Spider Solitaire on the PC and trying to get an opening line.

Suanne and I attended a food blogger photography workshop earlier this month. This workshop was organized by Jackie Connelly. This is actually the second workshop organized following the success of an earlier one. Jackie is a professional photographer specializing on food and beverage.


Suanne and I were late getting to the workshop. We were punctual people but that Saturday was a nightmare. We ended up getting caught in two traffic snarls in Richmond and Vancouver because of road constructions. So we got in late and missed the first part where Jackie showed the various tricks used to touch up the food and “food”. Hah! Now I know that some of the delicious food pictures in magazines are not real food.

The 2-hour workshop covers basic food photography. Although I never had formal training in photography, most of the things discussed were not new to me. Suanne benefited a lot from it though. What I enjoyed in the course most was about the lighting techniques. That is the single most important thing in photography.

The other thing that I picked up is Jackie’s insistence of using the tripod, even when the light is good. My problem is that a lot of my photography is taken seated at the dining table. Even though I had a couple of table top tripod, it is too cumbersome to use and limited in the angles it can support. Since this workshop, I had been carrying my favourite table top tripod in my camera bag.

Three things I would like to learn outside of this workshop is composition, food styling and Photoshop techniques. Am hoping that Jackie will organize one for these topics in future. Anyway, Jackie is organizing another workshop similar to the one we attended on January 9th.

The workshop were attended by the following bloggers:


The workshop was held in the wine bar at the back of the Campagnolo restaurant. I had been reading a lot about Campagnolo but did not check out until now.


After the workshop, some of us stayed behind for a late lunch. Campagnolo closes for lunch at 2:30PM but they stayed open for us … which was kind of cool because we had the entire restaurant for ourselves. The dining area is spacious.


Campagnolo is an Italian restaurant. Not formal but a casual sort of a restaurant. My eyes glazed on the Italian menu because I find it so hard to understand them. I am just not familiar with Italian and the menu are divided into so many sections. It’s easier if it is broken down by appetizers, main and dessert.

This is what I just found out from Wikipedia. With Italian cuisine there is a distinction between courses. These courses are called aperitivo, antipasto, primo, secondo, contorno, formaggio e frutta, caffe and digestivo. Fancy isn’t it?

Italian cuisine connoisseurs can correct me as I attempt to recap my understanding.


Aperitivo and antipasto are basically appetizer but am not able to tell the difference between them.

For the mains, there is the primo, secondo and contorno. Italians start with the primo which is pasta or soup followed by the secondo which is the heavier main where meat or fish is served. Accompanying them is the contorno — the side dish.

They then move on to Formaggio e Frutta (cheese and fruits), coffee and ending with this fancy thing called digestivo. Digestivo is the “coffee killer” … basically liquors like grappa.

Italians sure know how to eat huh?


The Antipasti — “before the meal”.

Everyone on the table was raving about Campagnolo’s … chickpeas. So Suanne and I went with the flow. This is called Crispy Ceci (peperoncini, mint, citrus) on the menu.

The chickpeas were deep fried and taste cistrusy. We like the slightly crunchy outside but is still soft and moist outside. I can see why this is so popular but at $8 I can’t help but think that the margins for this simple dish must be very high.


We ordered the above quite randomly as our main. It is listed on the section called “Colazione” and I just Google translated that word.  He he he … apparently that word translates to “breakfast”.

Well, we learn something new everyday!

How do you expect us to know right? Especially when it is called Briased Pork Belly Crespelle and that it costs $12. Moreover it came with a contorno (a side) of your choice.

Breakfast item or otherwise, it is good. The mushroom cream gives it the perfect level of moist.

[Note to self: Remember that colazione is breakfast and never order a calozione at 3PM or people will laugh at you.]


The side dish we ordered was another random selection – Cotechino sausage. It is made of pork and has a mild flavour.

Talking about pork. Jackie was asking if we could take a peek at the Campagnolo’s store room. Heard that it is quite a sight. However, the owner told us that there is nothing to see on the weekend. The action is on Thursdays. That is when the pig arrives. So, here is a tip … if you so happen to go on a Thursday, ask to see the store room (or whatever fancy name they call it).


The Carnaroli Risotto (with parsley, tarragon, chives) is listed under the Primi section of the menu and costs $12. No offence meant but I just want to say that if this is served to people in China, the initial reaction to them is that this is baby food. LOL!

But we love this. It has a slight tanginess to it. It is also starchy with firmness in the rice.


The crostini bread stick came towards the end of the meal. It was complimentary from Campagnolo. I love it … very crispy with the melted cheese giving it a hint of saltiness. This reminded us of the two-feet long breadstick we were served in Barcelona’s Alkimia.


The bill came to $34 before tips.

It was great getting to know bloggers we had always only known by name.

Below is Campagnolo’s menu.


Campagnolo on Urbanspoon

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  1. LotusRapper

    We dined at Campagnolo a few months ago and had one of the best dinners in recent memory. Ordered many things so I can’t recall the details here, but our bill (for two) was around $150 so there were quite a few things (plus vino).

    Glad you guys ate there. Did ya get the table by the back window (in bar section) that overlooks the blue trash dumpsters ? (LOL)

    BTW, the establishment prior to Campagnolo was a long-established (since early ’70s) Portuguese restaurant called ADEGA.

    1. LotusRapper

      BTW: for people looking to “load up on pasta”, need not apply at Campagnolo. That’s North American eating of Italian pasta, which is properly served as “primi” of a multi-course meal.

  2. fmed

    I too am considering taking this course. However…there is no way I will carry a tripod into a restaurant! I will use one in a studio setting, however.

  3. Winnie

    I love Campagnolo! I had my birthday dinner with lots of friends there. Lovely group menu and very attentive service.

  4. Ben

    A reader wrote a response to this post via email. I am reproducing the email here because it contained so much pertinent info related to this post:

    Hi, just few comments, “aperitivo is a liquid, usually alcoholic, designed to encourage the digestive process to “gear up”, antipasto is simply that, “before the pasto or meal” small morsels of distinctive flavours for the digestive processes to respond to. Salame, of various types, olives, vegetables with dips or sauces, are all possible. The rest you have summed up well. Something to bear in mind, Italy, although small in size, is vast in history and geography. Although by no means as vast as China, it have distinctive agriculture and therefore foods. The south is based on olive oil, fish, wheat flour mixtures and has Arab and Spanish traces in food. The French wield powerful influence in the area of their common border, as in Bologna, due to Napoleonic wars, and the north east area reflects a shared heritage with the Austro-hungarian Empire. And then the local specialties of prosciutto, an air cured ham best when at least 2 years old and Parmesan cheese from Parma have penetrated international markets. I am an Italian citizen and have live in Italy and made a study of this fascinating, troublesome country. I could go on and on. Good luck and further adventures in Italy with your fork. Buon appetito! Jane Anderson, Formerly Gianna Bendandi, di San Romualdo di Ravenna, Emilia-Romagna, Italia.


  5. jackie connelly

    Great post Ben & Suanne! Thanks again for coming. And a future workshop on food styling, with my amazing food stylist, is in the works!

    Oh, and in response to fmed’s comment, please fire me an email if you’d like to be put on the wait list for the March workshop (January 9th is currently full), I will show you how much a tripod can help with low-light food photos — and you can even use a small, table-top tripod 🙂


  6. fmed

    Hi Jackie….email sent!

  7. arschaaf

    They have a beer and pizza deal after 930pm (and during Canucks games between 5-7). I went after 9:30 one day, the service was the pits and the pizza was incredibly doughy, oversalted, and virtually inedible. We ordered the Carbonara pizza, I don’t reccomend it. However, I’d love to go back for another try, though I’d likely skip the pizza.

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