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…

PODCASTS

Radio has always been a source of pleasure for me. Before Television we listened to shows like The Inner Sanctum, Sky King, The Lone Ranger & other’s. In my late teens I started tuning in Talk Radio starting with the famous Pat Burns on CJOR Vancouver.  Later it was Webster, Bannerman and eventually Rush Limbaugh.  As a salesman a lot of time was spent in my car and radio was a great companion. 

In this new digital world there are even better radio options. On an smart phone or iPad one can download an APP called TUNEIN RADIO. It can connect you to pretty much every radio station in the world, live. It’s fantastic.  If I wake up early in the morning I stick an earphone in my iPhone and listen to all manner of programming. 

A more recent discovery for me is the PODCAST. Podcasts  can be downloaded to your phone, tablet and computer and cover an amazing range of subjects. On The TUNEIN Radio App, one can browse the podcasts. It might be commercial free replays of talk radio shows or something on a variety of other topics. News & Politics, Comedy, History, Food and Cooking, Sports, Philosophy, Paranormal & Music. 

On the food list is the Bon Appetit Foodcast, Canadian Beer podcast and the Wine Cellar.  All available to download for free. How about old broadcasts of SHERLOCK HOLMES mysteries with Basil Rathbone? Or perhaps BOSTON BLACKIE, DRAGNET or Roy Rogers. All there, all free. 

Maybe you want to really learn something in addition to being entertained. Try the 20+ episodes covering the Fall if the Roman Empire. 

Can’t find anything worth watching on TV?  Try a podcast. 

Just saying…

Morningstar is Back!

As you may know Morningstar Golf Course  in FRENCH CREEK has been experiencing financial problems and,  as a result,  the restaurant has been closed for a while.  Good news! The course is now in receivership and the facilities have reopened.

We tried the Friday Night Fish & Chip special with friends last week and we were pleasantly surprised. The fish was very tasty with a very light batter perfectly done. Excellent and plentiful fries too. I liked the Tartar Sauce & the Cole Slaw although the latter was a pretty stingy serving. Two of the ladies at our table ordered the Thai Salad that also was well received. We thought the prices were pretty reasonable,  too.

The service was prompt and friendly and a tableside chat with the Manager was informative.

Good food, pleasant casual atmosphere, and close to home for us. We will be back.

 

Just saying…

Qualicum Beach Inn

Twice in recent weeks we have enjoyed lunch at the CVIEW Restaurant at the Qualicum Beach Inn. Outside seating behind the glass is quite delightful with a view out to sea. The service was good and the menu quite good. On two occasions my favourite girl chose the Seafood Cobb Salad. Loaded with seafood and beautifully presented it is worth considering. I have tried the Pulled Pork in a bun and a Hamburger. Both are really good. In fact the burger is one of the best I’ve had all summer. Mind you you at $18 it better be good. Yes, the prices are a little steep but one expects that in a hotel. Our Fish & Chip aficionado friend ordered it and it passed his muster.  A friend from Victoria really enjoyed the pizza and it did look good.

CView has a well planned wine list and a good assortment of local and imported beer.

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CVIEW is a perfect place to take out of town guests.  Good food, good service and a great view!

Just saying…