NEW COFFEE JOINT

There is a new coffee joint in PARKSVILLE and I checked it out this morning. Met my brother in law for coffee at BRAZEN POPPY BAKERY in the new Shelly Square next to A&W. Nice place with a few comfy chairs and a fireplace. Typical assortment of coffees, as you would expect along with an assortment of baked goods. The muffins were delicious. Brazen Poppy is a family run affair and worth a visit. One more place for coffee.  

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Others we like are SERIOUS COFFEE, although it’s pretty noisy, Starbucks, of course, and Pacific Brim in PARKSVILLE are great spots.  Creekmore’s at the Coombs/Hilliers junction is a cool place which also serves up some great lunch items. Coffee is a good choice at the Coombs Country Market and they certainly have some wonderful bakery choices. In Qualicum Beach both The French Press and Bailey’s are worthy of a visit. 

So if it’s caffeine you are craving or you want to meet friends for a visit, any one of these coffee joints will fill the bill. 

Bt the way, Domino’s Pizza is also now in Shelly Square.

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Just saying…

EAT FRESH

Have you shopped at EAT FRESH in PARKSVILLE?  If not, you must give it a try. Eat Fresh are in the midst of an expansion which is enhancing their deli section. Check out the selection of cheese. Quite expansive. 

The meat department is excellent with lots of choices.  They have some modest sized packed chicken, beef and pork which are perfect for two. And you must try some of the in house made frozen soups. My brother recommended the FOREST MUSHROOM which is simply delicious with a variety of different mushrooms. $6 each which makes a perfect lunch for two. Just today we slurped up the SEAFOOD CHOWDER!  Really delicious. They also have Chilli, Lasagne, and many other frozen items. All made right there. 

The Deli/Bakery Department is not to be missed.  Want a quick lunch?  Try the ready made sandwiches. The Roast Beef & the Corned Beef are very good. The Lime Tarts are one of our favourites and you just must try the Expresso Nanaimo Bar! And check out the muffins too. Like meat pies? Try theirs. And if you fancy a Salad there is an assortment of really interesting creations. 

We like Creekmore’s Coffee and you can grind it and buy it right here. Saves one a trip to Hilliers. 

We don’t do all our food shopping at Eat Fresh, but seem to be there more and more. 

Just saying…

JANUARY

I know, I know. It has been some time since my last post. Well, it was January and we just haven’t tried anything new. However, an anniversary dinner at BISTRO 694 in Qualicum Beach was excellent, as usual. If you have not been, you must go. Charming atmosphere, nice people and simply delicious food. 

Our friends Mike & Lorna, suggested we do take our from Mekong River Vietnamese  recently. We each chose two dishes and they did the pick up. Served up in our dining room, it was really tasty. Crispy Chow Mein, Beef Curry, Spicy Prawns and Baked Salmon along with lots of rice. Some TSINGTAO Beer and white wine worked well too. Excellent food, if a little pricy. If you have not tried Mekong River, check out their menu here… https://www.mekongriverparksville.com/menu/

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Some restaurant news. Yorkys Fish & Chips is closed for renovations. It will be reopening soon as CAPTAIN JOHN’S SEAFOOD. It located by Shoppers in Parksville. There is a new coffee joint now open in the new mall next to A&W in Parksville. And everyone is anxiously awaiting the opening of the FRENCH CREEK BISTRO next to Sam’s Sushi.  

We have enjoyed Carlos O’Bryans Pub in Nanaimo several times. Recently the same company opened Kelly O’Bryans restaurant in Courtenay. Have not been yet but it is located at 2910 Kilpatrick Avenue in Courtenay. They are a chain based in Kelowna with locations in Kelowna, Kamloops, New Westminster, Nanaimo, Vernon & Vancouver. 

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CHEESE❗️Yes please✔️

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If you are in Courtenay and if you love Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese, please pay a visit to NATURAL PASTURES CHEESE COMPANY. They make the best, freshest, Mozzarella anywhere. http://www.naturalpastures.com

Just saying…

SHOPPING SUCCESS❗️

Dealing with retailers can be a challenge sometimes. Have you ever gone into Canadian Tire for a Bargain, only to learn they have no inventory of said bargain. Or the shoe store that won’t give you your money back but only give a credit? 

Well, sometimes you can have a really positive experience. We needed a new lampshade for a floor lamp since someone had knocked the lamp over and destroyed the shade. Two guesses who was the culprit. A search of all the suspect stores in Oceanside and Nanaimo (Home Depot, Lowes, Home Sense) plus a couple of lighting stores turned up nothing appropriate. 

Then I remembered my favourite girl had ordered shades from the VICTORIA LAMPSHADE Company. They have stores in Victoria and Vancouver. I found their website, sent them a photo of the old shade with the dimensions and asked if they could duplicate it. Their reply was speedy with the news that they could comply. They quoted the price and delivery time and today said shade arrived. It is exactly what I wanted. Top quality product with friendly and efficient service.  No wonder they have stayed in business since 1969.  I dealt with Allison, the owner, who was as pleasant and efficient as can be. 

We would certainly recommend Victoria Lampshade Company.  If you are in Victoria you can find the store at 428 Burnside Road East. Phone them at 250-383-1544. 

Or check out their website at http://victorialampshade.com

Just saying….

 

PANETTONE FOR CHRISTMAS

Since the first Christmas with my favourite girl, we have enjoyed PANETTONE every year during the Christmas Season. I had never heard of it but she had just returned from a year or so in Rome and was very familiar with it.

If you have not tried PANETTONE, you simply must! Panettone is an Italian type of sweet bread originally from Milan. It’s usually prepared and enjoyed in Western and Southern Europe  for the Christmas Season. The main ingredients are flour, candied fruit and raisins. It’s formed into a cupola shape about 12-15 cm high. Panettone makes excellent toast to savour with your Christmas morning brunch.  It also makes fabulous French Toast. It also has a long shelf life and If you are a bread baker there are several recipes on the Internet.

This is one I bought recently at the Coombs Old Country Market.

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I think most specialty food stores stock them and Amazon have a whole raft of them if you are an on-line shopper. It’s nicely packaged and sometimes comes in a big tin.

So kick it up a notch and try some PANETTONE this year❗️ It also makes a very nice gift if you are going to friends over the holidays.  As they say in 🇮🇹 Italy,

BUON NATALE

JUST SAYING…

NOODLE BOX, Nanaimo

Tonight was one of those ‘ I don’t feel like cooking’ nights. So on my way home I popped into the NOODLE BOX in Nanaimo. I had checked out their website in advance so knew what to order. The NOODLE BOX is a fast food joint that began in Victoria as a small food cart in Chinatown. It became popular with people lining up even in the rain for their food. In 2003 the first store opened in Victoria and now there are 18 locations in BC & Alberta. 

I found their North Nanaimo location in the mall that houses Brown’s Social House, across from Superstore. You can eat in, very casual and basic, or takeout. There is also a store near the Port Theatre in Nanaimo. 

Having decided to try the Ginger Beef for takeout. I chose MEDIUM HEAT!  I took it home and 30 minutes later it was still warm and did not need reheating. Was it hot? As in 🌶 spicy hot? Oh yes❗️🌶.  The medium was almost too hot for me. But it was really good. Beef with some vegetables noodles over Jasmine Rice. And a generous portion as well. 

You can order a range of Heat🌶. 

Mild

Mild medium🌶

Medium🌶🌶

Medium Hot🌶🌶🌶

Hot🌶🌶🌶🌶   

Scorching  Hot 🌶🌶🌶🌶🌶 Guaranteed to burn. 

Scorching hot might actually set your hair on fire. Order this and keep an extinguisher close by. 

I like hot but even the medium was too much for me. So I’d go with Mild Medium🌶 next time. 

If you like Asian food, consider the NOODLE BOX.  Most of the dishes are only $9.00. Cooked to order, by the way. 

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Here is their website. http://www.noodlebox.ca/

Just saying…

 

GORDON

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about an elderly gentleman who was sweeping up a parking lot at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. I vowed that if I ever saw him again I’d try to chat with him. Well today, while visiting my favourite girl in the Rehab Unit at Nanaimo Regional I saw the same guy right by my car. I ran outside to catch up with him and found out this. 

Gordon is a Nanaimo native who lives with his wife in the Kiwanis Lodge near the hospital. He had a career with the CO-OP.  Gordon is 82 years old and cleans up ALL the parking lots at the hospital. For free. He has sort of adopted them. 

I asked him why he does it. He said he has always worked and in his retirement he needed something to do so he chose parking lots. He travels from his home on 4 wheel red electric scooter. With broom and dust bin in hand he cleans up all the garbage, coffee cups, pop cans and whatever else. 

This is Gordon. Hats off to him. Providing a great community service at 82 years old. 

 

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Breakfast Options

Breakfast is one of our favourite meals and particularly one enjoyed in a restaurant. Breakfast can range from an Egg McMuffin at MacDonald’s to a lavish Buffett at a Four Seasons Hotel and everything in between. 

Two contrasting breakfasts experienced recently are worthy of comment. The first is the special $5.00 breakfast at QUALITY FOODS in Qualicum. Two eggs, you choose the style, two strips of bacon, hash browns, and your choice of toast, 2 pieces. FIVE BUCKS! I’ve had it twice and both times it was good. All properly cooked and satisfying. FIVE BUCKS! 

On the other hand, in Nanaimo the other day,  I slinked into a White Spot and not realizing that my eyes were bigger than my stomach, I ordered the NAT’S HEARTY BREAKFAST.  WHOA! Two eggs, two pancakes, three sausages and hash browns, shredded or smashed. I checked the White Spot website and discovered that my choices added up to more than 1200 calories and 2800 mg of Sodium.  Good Grief. 

It was good, although at my age and activity level,  Nat’s Hearty was just too much. Couldn’t eat it all. This is a meal for someone who is a Triathlon activist. 

Did I mention the price? With a coffee and 20% tip it passed $22.00. For one breakfast.

Next breakfast out will be at Quality Foods. Having said that, I must retry BREAD & HONEY in Parksville. 

Just saying…

British Fish & Chips

One restaurant I keep hearing about is the BRITISH BOBBY in PARKSVILLE.  Well, today, two good friends  treated me to my first lunch at the Bobby. Supposedly, they have the best Fish & Chips in the area. Certainly makes sense for a British Restaurant.  If the Brits can’t turn our superior Fish & Chips, who can? 

We all ordered Cod & Chips although Halibut and Haddock are also offered The portions were acceptably large.  The Cole Slaw was very good if a bit skimpy and the Tarter Sauce was really good. As to the main items, the fish was tasty but the batter was not really crispy and the chips were just regular old chips. Sadly, I was rather disappointed. This joint did not match its reputation, in my mind. In recent weeks I have enjoyed Fish & Chips at the Lantzville Pub and the White Spot. Both were superior to the British Bobby, in my opinion. No wonder the national dish of England is now Chicken Tikka Masala. The lunch menu includes Sandwiches, Bacon & Eggs. The lunch Special, One Piece Cod & Chips at $9.49 is certainly good value. For dinner an expanded menu includes burgers, and some other typical English dishes. 

To be fair, the service was prompt and friendly and our server even had an English accent. Very authentic at least. 

But the decor!  British, indeed.  Overwhelmingly tacky. Every inch of the joint is covered with things British. Pictures!  Brick a Brac! Union Jacks! Racy cartoons!   For me it is just too much. The decor could give you brain cramps.  And it’s dark inside. It reminded me of a basement ‘rumpus room’.

If you really like a place that has lots of stuff, British stuff, you may enjoy a visit. Reportedly, they are packed on weekends and one needs a reservation.  Amazing. 

British Bobby is located in a strip mall that it shares with Serious Coffee on #19A in the lower East Side of PARKSVILLE.  1209 Island Highway East

You can check out the menu and some photos here:  http://thebritishbobby.homestead.com

Just saying…

Touching Senior’s Moment

Yesterday, while visiting at Nanaimo Regional Hospital, I looked out a fourth floor window to see a large parking lot. It would hold 50 cars or more. An elderly gentleman riding an electric scooter rolled into the parking lot. He carefully parked the scooter and with a broom and a long handled dust bin proceeded to clean up the entire parking lot. Stall by stall, he worked away. He was quite hunched over and moved slowly. But swept up every bit of garbage in that lot.

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Perhaps he has adopted the lot and regularly shows up to ensure its tidiness. In any event, it was amazing and delightful to see. He showed a real sense of purpose and a sense of pride.

I am going again today and if he is cleaning another lot I’m going to have a chat with him. What a fine citizen.

 

Just saying…