Tacos in Coombs

On the recommendation of a friend we decided to give the Taqueria next to Cuckoos in Coombs another try. Last time they did not yet have a liquor license, but they do now. 

it’s really a lovely outdoor Taco joint. A very appealing patio under  a huge cedar tree.  They serve several flavours of tacos as well as burritos, home made chips, &  tortilla soup.  They offer 3 levels of sauce on the tacos and burritos. Mild, medium and scorching hot. 

It’s basically a food truck.  You order as you go in and they call out your number when it’s ready. We ordered 3 beef tacos and two icy cold Coronas. Luckily,  we were in line behind two families with kids and the most indecisive pair of parents in the world. I thought they would never finish ordering. Some people are clueless, stupid, or thoughtless. I guess they thought they were the only customers there. Finally I ordered and headed for a table for two with the Coronas and limes. 

The Tacos were OK but not notable. The fish tacos at the Lantzville Pub are much better. Next time I’ll try the Burritos.   However, this patio on a warm day is a pretty nice place to sip on a Corona. They also serve Margaritas but no wine. 

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As we were leaving we ran into Fausto, the head honcho of Cuckoos who also manages the Taco stand. He told that the family that originally started the Coombs megaplex lived in the cottage just behind the patio and that they used to tie up the family cow to the huge Cedar tree way back when. 

If you are hankering for some Mexican tastes and want to relax on a charming patio,  Check it out. 

Just saying…

SCHNITZEL in Qualicum

About a week ago a few neighbours came for a casual dinner on the patio.  BBQ pulled pork on buns. Casual. While chit chatting over the food they asked if we had been to the BLACK BIRD SCHNITZEL HOUSE in Qualicum Beach. We had not yet done so.  We were encouraged to try it soon. So we did yesterday for lunch. 

Located on Highway 19A just past the beach, this is the third try for an eatery in this quite new building. There is ample parking too.  This family run place opened in 2017 and has been busy ever since. As expected, the decor is Bavarian. Dark wood floors and furniture with a variety of Black Forest decor items. There is a small patio but it was a little too windy for us so we sat inside. Service was prompt and friendly.  

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We ordered a libation and perused the menu. 21 kinds of Schnitzel I think.  The lunch Schnitzel are smaller portions than the dinner ones and less expensive. I chose the Peppercorn Mushroom with cabbage and fried potatoes. It was Delicious and a hearty portion for lunch at $13.95. My favourite girl zeroed in on the West Coast Caps. Shrimp, Scallops and cheese stuffed mushrooms baked and served with garlic toast. Also delicious. The Schnitzels are mostly pork but you can order veal for an extra $3.00. 

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Of course, there is a nice selection of German Beer and some resonantly priced wine.

If you like Schnitzel, you can’t go wrong here. Probably a good idea to make reservations for dinner as they are busy. 250-752-8500.  You can find them at 3298 Island Highway West. 

They don’t have a website but are on Facebook where you can see the menu. Specials are also posted on their page.

Just saying…

LUNCH AL FRESCO AT TIGH NA MARA

Tried a new patio today for lunch. We motored down to Tigh Na Mara to check out the patio at the Cedars Restaurant. It quite delightful and cool and appears to be semi permanent since the tables  are on what used to be grass. Nice tables, nice umbrellas. But it was empty. Guess everyone is at the beach. 

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We ordered an adult beverage and after perusing the menu we ordered. No crab cakes here so my favourite girl chose the Shrimp Croissant which she thoroughly enjoyed. I opted for the BLT which was a winner with a large portion of grilled chicken and tasty bacon. The Fries were really good too. The menu included Chowder, Halibut & Chips, Burgers etc. Not cheap, but that is to be expected at a hotel. 

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Our server was a charming, attractive and efficient young lady. She only had us as customers so service was good. Apparently the patio gets busy in the evening. The bar appetizer menu is available after 2 and it includes their excellent Popcorn Shrimp which we have nibbled on  previously.  On  Tuesday and Wednesday the still have the half priced appetizers in the bar. 

Thinking of outdoor dining? Check out this patio at Tigh Na Mara. 

Just saying…

MEAT YOU WILL WANT TO EAT

We are so fortunate to live on Vancouver Island where there is such an abundance of fresh local meat and produce available. Fruit, vegetables, meats, wines, spirits, we have it all. We can go directly to farms, or buy at the various farmers markets. But if it’s meat you are after here are two businesses you need to check out if you have not already.

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If you haven’t shopped at HILLIERS GOURMET FOODS you really must give it a try. Located not far from Qualicum Beach on Highway 4,the Alberni Highway, it is a European style meat store. They make their own double smoked  bacon and it is excellent. They made the breakfast sausages for our Canada Day Brunch and they were maybe the best we’ve ever enjoyed. 

Where else can you buy fresh Pork Bellies?  When I figure out how to cook them, I’ll buy some. 

The selection of in-house made sausages is large too. 

If you are a foodie you need to check this joint out. 

Speaking of meat, the other wonderful meat market in the area that is a must go, is NESVOG MEAT & SAUSAGE COMPANY in Nanaimo.  This place is like Mecca for Carnivores. It is a family run operation in business since 2005.  It’s large and busy. On our last visit there were at least 8 staff behind the counter taking orders.  They are courteous and efficient. Be sure and take a number and wait for it to be called out. 

The inventory on display is amazing. Steaks? Take your pick.  Sausages made right there! Many varieties. We like the spicy Italian Sausage which is great with Pasta. All manner of Pork, too. Ribs, Chops, Roasts. And Chicken galore.  

Want something marinated? Try the Maui Ribs. Best we’ve had. They also do Maui Steaks. And several kinds of delicious looking Kabobs as well as  several varieties of chicken wings. We put the Buffalo Wings on our bbq the other night. Excellent.  Sliced meats and other deli items can be had also. How about stuffed Portabello Mushrooms?  Right there and ready to go. 

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More than meat there is an excellent cheese section and a host of oils, mustards, rubs, crackers, breadsticks, etc., you will want to browse through. Not up to making dinner? The ready to go meat pies are very good as is  the Shepherds Pie and the Lasagne. Usually available are fresh berry pies in a small size perfect for two. 

The main store is in TERMINAL MALL on 19A about a kilometre or so past the Departure Bay turnoff if you are heading into Nanaimo. They have a Second much smaller store on Bowen Road near Northfield Drive but the main store is the place to go.

If you have not tried Nesvog, please do so soon. Check out their website

 http://www.nesvogmeats.com

Just saying…

FISH & CHIPS? YES!

How we have missed TROLLERS on the dock at the Nanaimo Boat Basin is beyond me. We’ve driven by it dozens of times in the seven years we’ve lived on the Island but had never stopped.  Luckily, on Tuesday some old boating friends from the States were returning from an Alaska trip and stopped to overnight in Nanaimo.  They called and asked if we could come in for a visit. Where can we get good Fish & Chips they asked.  I told them I thought there was a joint right on the dock. And there was.   So we met them at TROLLERS.

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What a pleasant surprise! This joint has really good food.  And our American friends loved it.  Trollers is not fancy to be sure.  Rather it’s really casual.  Order at the window and wait for the food to be delivered.  Disposable cutlery and baskets but good food.  From Halibut, Ling Cod & Salmon to Fanny Bay Oysters, Calamari, Crab Cakes, it all looks good.  Our friends had Cod & Chips and Onion Rings and enjoyed it all.   We had already had dinner so we shared a one piece Cod & Chips.  Our server said they have the best fish & Chips in Nanaimo and I believe she is correct.

Go on a sunny day and sit outside at a picnic table.  Very casual. Indoor seating is available in case of rain.

There is ample parking in the parkade nearby and its a short stroll down the ramp to Trollers.  Next time we have a Fish & Chips craving we are heading there even if they don’t serve beer or wine.  Check out their website for the menu and hours.  By the way, they also have some Gluten Free items.

http://www.trollersfishandchips.com

just saying…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lunch in Campbell River

Fabulous sunny day on the island so a drive with the roof open was in order. Took the old highway to Campbell River with the plan of attending Wings & Wheels, a plane and car show at the Campbell River Airport.  

Before the final destination lunch became important so we parked near the big marina and headed for the Rip Tide Pub.  We didn’t quite make as right next to it is a MOXIES and their patio looked inviting. 

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The menu looked good and the food going by looked really good. My favourite girl chose Chicken Fingers which were excellent. A large order so I felt compelled to help her out. Huevos Rancheros seemed a good choice for me. They were perfect. Pulled chicken between two tortillas with tiny black beans, rice and avocado topped with two fried eggs and a delicious spiced sauce. Different than I’ve had before but I’d order again in a nanosecond. 

The service was prompt and friendly and the servers and bussers  were well trained and efficient. 

The Rip Tide Pub next door is also very good and we have noshed there several times. 

If you are hungry in Campbell River, you can’t go wrong in either of these eateries. 

Oh, the plane and car show. It was pretty good some great cars but the best part was touching a B25 MITCHELL BOMBER from WWll.  Didn’t get to see her fly but just seeing her up close was pretty cool. There were almost 10,000 built in the US. There are more than 100 still around the world and about 45 are still airworthy. Amazing after more than 70 years. 

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By the way it was HOT at the airport. 31C! 

Just saying…

WHITE WHALE PUB

Since I was in a quandary about what to do for lunch, we hopped in the car and headed to Courtenay. Took the old highway as usual. Had heard good things about a joint in Courtenay called the WHITE WHALE PUB so decided  to give it a try. 

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It’s a pretty nice place done in standard pub decor, white plaster and dark beams along with dark furniture. Also has a nice deck hanging over the river where you can observe Kayakers paddling by. With all the trees around the rivers edge it feels like a grotto in the bayou. Quite charming. Quite Large and quite EMPTY. 

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The servers were friendly and prompt. We decided to order drinks and share an order of  Fish & Chips.  The fish was Ling Cod which was very tasty although the portions were on the small side. Excellent batter and  an interesting tartar sauce.  

The glass of Island Lager was cold and good but pretty small for $4. The cheapest glass of wine was $10 for 5 ounces. A little pricey.  $18 for a Burger?

I guess they figure they can charge more because all their ingredients are locally sourced. Or maybe the prices are the cause of a small crowd on a sunny summer afternoon  

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You can check out their story, the menu etc., on the website. 

http://whitewhalecourtenay.ca

My favourite pub, the CROW & GATE PUB is much better value as is the Lantzville Pub. But it was a nice change and a lovely drive. 

Just saying…

GREAT SUMMER READS

In the past couple of weeks I have enjoyed two books about our West Coast. The first was

 LONG BEACH WILD

 by Adrienne Mason, a Tofino resident. She traces the history of Long Beach covering the people as well as the flora and fauna. I was particularly interested in the history since she mentions my grandparents who lived at the beach in the 1920’s. The author provided some history about them about which I was unaware. She also details the activity during  WWll when a sizeable air base was built between Tofino and Ucluelet. It’s an entertaining  read and if you enjoy Long Beach you will enjoy this book. I downloaded it from Amazon Kindle but you may find it in hard copy at your favourite bookstore. 

Our good friends Phil & Marilyn Clark cane to stay with us a couple of weeks ago and brought me a book written by Marilyn’s sister in law Pat Ardley. 

GRIZZLIES, GALES & GIANT SALMON..Life at a Rivers Inlet Fishing Lodge

It is quite a tale. Pat Ardley and husband George, he from Lake Cowichan, she from Winnipeg built this lodge from scratch starting in their 20’s and ran it for 40 years. This couple were amazing pioneers!  She explains how they built the lodge, all on floats, how it grew to become one of the premier lodges on the coast. The hardships, the challenges, the satisfaction is all there. It’s a wonderful story. 

If you want to inhale another breath of the West Coast, pick it up. 

Finally, Peter Mayle has a new book coming out. Mayle is the author of the famous A YEAR IN PROVENCE , which launched a series of books by him of life in the south of France. His first book inspired us several years ago to rent a small apartment in the little village of St. Thibery, in Languadoc Province.  We stayed for two weeks and absorbed the small town French culture if the area. It was wonderful. 

Peter Mayle’s latest book is 

MY TWENTY FIVE YEARS IN PROVENCE

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It will be released on July 26 but you can read a promo for it right now on Amazon. Can’t wait to read it. We have read almost all of his other books and enjoyed them completely. 

If, by chance, you have not read any of his books, well,  Giddy Up. You have missed some fine entertainment.

Just saying…

SPORTS EQUIPMENT

Expecting guests on the Island this summer?  Need to keep them entertained? Things for kids to do? Maybe you feel like taking a Kayak to Horne Lake?

Well, there is a new store in PARKSVILLE,

OCEANSIDE OUTFITTERS Inc.

Greg & Nancy Chartrand (she is our niece) are the owners and they have quite an array of equipment for rent.

Bikes? yes❗️Paddle Boards? Yes❗️ Beach shoes? Of course❗️ Kayaks? Absolutely❗️

Check them out on Middleton Street right behind Shopper’s in PARKSVILLE .You can call them at 250-586-0093

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Just saying..,

 

FATHER’S DAY CAR SHOW

It must be the single biggest event every year in Qualicum Beach. The Seaside Cruizers Father’s Day Car Show. It is spectacular, particularly if you are old and can remember when these restored beauties were new. 600 cars angle parked on the streets of downtown Qualicum Beach is quite a sight to see. 

Getting smarter in my old age, my brother and I decided to get there at 0800 when it officially opened. Good plan. Got a parking spot on the street a block from the show. It was still cool and very few spectators had arrived so we enjoyed strolling up and down checking out the cars. Model T Fords from the 1920’s,  Model A Fords from the same era. 32 Fords, quite a few. Fords from the 1940’s and right up to late model Mustangs. 

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A 4 Door McLaughlin Buick looking like it just emerged from the showroom. Cadillacs, Corvettes, Shelby Cobras, and lots of Chevys from the  the 40’s 50’s. & 60’s. Some mostly stock. Some highly modified.  An amazing number a Chevelles.  There were even a few VW Bugs and a 1930’s Mercedes convertible that I expected to see Hitler himself in the back seat. 

 

There were some vintage ‘WOODIE’ station wagons, some sweet Pick Up Trucks and even a rare Auburn Boat Tail Roadster.

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There were also quite a number of the category I do not like, the RAT RODS.  Don’t get it at all.  

There was live and recorded Music, Food vendors and more. 

Observation 1.  Almost all these cars are owned by men over aged 60. 

Observation 2.  Some guys have a lot of cash invested in these machines.

Observation 3.  The is show is really well organized. 

Observation 4.   The whole show is FREE!  

If you didn’t go or have never been, do it next Father’s Day. But a tip from me…go early when it is cool and not crowded. We drove by at 1:30 and Second Avenue was jammed with people. 

Great event for Qualicum Beach!  Congratulations to the organizers. 

Just saying…