Nanaimo Happy Hour Deal

Feeling like a snack and libation in the afternoon when shopping or visiting in Nanaimo? Consider our discovery yesterday. CARLOS O’BRYAN’S pub on on the waterfront has Happy Hour every day from 2-5. Appetizers are half price and drinks are cheap. My Toronto based son chose Jerk Wings while I decided on fish Tacos. Then we shared an order of Dry Garlic Ribs. All three were generous and delicious. $7 each. Highballs for $3.50, 16oz Draft for $4.50, wine at $6. Good value.

As previously reported, this is a very nice pub looking over a marina. A short 600 metre stroll from the Departure Bay ferry. Lots of free parking too.

Just saying…


Even though we are regulars at SAM’S SUSHI in French Creek I had never tried their Bento Box for lunch. Well, today I was feeling a bit peckish so I rolled into Sam’s and proclaimed, “BENTO BOX it is”.

It was wonderful. To start was a cup of Miso Soup, then the box which included the following : Sunomono Salad with shrimp, Edamame Beans, Prawn & Vegetable Tempura, Gyoza, and a Spicy Tuna Roll.  And there are choices.  Several kinds of rolls, beef, chicken, tofu or gyoza teriaki, and a choice of salad. This is a lot of food.


Here is the kicker! All that Japanese deliciousness for $12.50!  Are you kidding me? This is, in my humble opinion, a true bargain.  So if you are at loose ends and craving some perfectly prepared Japanese food for lunch, go to Sam’s and treat yourself to a BENTO BOX.

Just saying…




Going out for coffee? There are number of coffee joints in Parksville/Qualicum Beach that are worthy of consideration. Our favourite is CREEKMORE’S COFFEE at the Hillier’s Junction. It’s a funky, hippy dippy kind of joint but they do their own roasting and feature several varieties of dark, medium and decaf. It’s family owned and they have been roasting and serving since 2000. We buy their BUZZRITE BLEND for home consumption but will break that pattern if there is a special for $10. Regular price for 400g is $13. Breakfast, lunch and snacks are served here and it all looks good. Muffins of interesting ingredients are made in house and are really good. They also feature a wide selection of tea. Feeling like a cappuccino, or a light lunch, try CREEKMORE’S. Be sure and take a bag of coffee home too. If you wake up early and are restless, they open at 6:30.

BAILEY’S IN THE VILLAGE in Qualicum Beach is another popular coffee joint, but it’s also a full fledged restaurant. Breakfasts look good and the blueberry scones are excellent. Lunch is also served here. Lots of regulars inhabit Baileys and there are often tables with 10 or 12 friends enjoying a visit. If the weather is good there are several tables outside on the square they share with the Town Hall.

Just across from the theatre on Second is HeBrews coffee. I meet here monthly with a group. We have found the coffee good and the muffins very tasty.

Down on the lower east side just past Resort Drive on 19A is SERIOUS COFFEE. I’ve been there a couple of times and enjoyed their coffee. Pastries and light lunches are available and the Calzones and Panninis are worthy of your consideration.  Serious Coffee are a chain serving only Vancouver Island and they roast their own coffee. The store is spacious and has lots of free parking.

One more spot I’ve tried is Pacific BrImm on Craig in Parksville. Cozy place with good service. They also serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They claim the Eggs Benedict are outstanding. Maybe it’s time to try them. If you are a tea drinker Pacific Brimm offers 12 flavours for summer.

Of course, if you are in a hurry or just lazy you can do the drive through at Tim’s or Starbucks or, Good Grief, McDonalds. Or, if you need groceries anyway, coffee and a pastry at ‘A Step Above’ in Quality Foods in Qualicum Beach is pretty hard to beat.

Just saying…

Benefit Burger!

Yesterday I attended, as a guest of my long time friend, Beast, a benefit event at the Lantzville Pub. The benefit was for a 33 year old firefighter who is waiting for his second Kidney Transplant.  The proceeds were to help him with some if the costs of his family being in Vancouver with him for the surgery.  In any  event there was a great turnout and more than 90 items had been donated for a silent auction. My friend had donated a gift script for a stay at his Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet.

For $20, they served a pint of lager and a burger.  Some of the $20 went to the benefit. But let’s talk about the burger!  We both agreed it was one of the best we had ever enjoyed.  A perfectly cooked beef patty, probably 6 ounces, topped with sautéed mushrooms, cheddar cheese and two strips of  bacon, all wrapped inside an excellent bun with a delicious sauce.   A side of fries was included and Lantzville Pub fries are always good.

I had never ordered a burger at the Lantzville Pub before but I guarantee that I will in the future.  The Fish & Chips, Fish Tacos, the Reuben and the Saturday night Prime Rib have been my favourites.  But,  if you go, try the fully loaded BURGER. Happy, happy, happy.

Just saying…



Last Saturday was Earth Day, again — an annual event first launched on April 22, 1970. This year the mantra was apparently. ‘Follow Science’. That assumes that the Scientists, Professors and so called experts actually know about which they speak.

The inaugural festivities of Earth Day in 1970 predicted death, destruction and disease unless we did exactly as progressives commanded. These are some of the EXPERT predictions on and around Earth Day 1970.  What fools❗️

1. “Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” — Harvard biologist George Wald

2. “We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation.” — Washington University biologist Barry Commoner

3. “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.” — New York Times editorial

4. “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.” — Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich

5. “Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born… [By 1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.” — Paul Ehrlich

6. “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” — Denis Hayes, Chief organizer for Earth Day

7. “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions…. By the year 2000, thirty years
from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.” — North Texas State University professor Peter Gunter

8. “In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution… by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half.” — Life magazine

9. “At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.” — Ecologist Kenneth Watt

10. “Air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” — Paul Ehrlich

11. “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate… that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, ‘Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, ‘I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’” — Ecologist Kenneth Watt

12. “[One] theory assumes that the earth’s cloud cover will continue to thicken as more dust, fumes, and water vapor are belched into the atmosphere by industrial smokestacks and jet planes. Screened from the sun’s heat, the planet will cool, the water vapor will fall and freeze, and a new Ice Age will be born.” — Newsweek magazine

13. “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.” — Kenneth Watt

My goodness. None of that happened. None of it.  Not even remotely close. Don’t trust the experts especially when they have a progressive AGENDA!

Just saying…

Chinese Dining in Parksville

For reasons unknown I have been bypassing TAN’S KITCHEN on 19A in Parksville since it opened Two or more years ago. Not sure why but since the parking lot is almost always  full I thought I’d give it a try. Glad I did.


Tan’s Kitchen is Chinese, North American Chinese I would say, but surprisingly good. Not as good as my all time favourite, Red CHILI in North Vancouver or Pink Pearl in Vancouver but as good as Capilano Heights, where we went for many years when we lived in North Vancouver. It’s certainly at least as good the venerable Ming’s in Victoria where I have dined many times.
The owners formerly owned a Chinese Restaurant in Port Alberni for 16 years before moving to Parksville and opening TAN’S. So they should know what they are doing and they do.

This restaurant is quite large and quite nice featuring both tables and booths. The decor is classic Chinese with paper lanterns, fans and other oriental decor items.

Open for lunch and dinner Tan’s features a large Buffett. I don’t fancy buffets so when I visited a very sweet young Chinese server brought me a menu. Very extensive as you expect in a Chinese restaurant. They have a number of Combo plates which are perfect when dining alone. I chose the Prawns, Sweet & Sour Chicken Balls and Chow Mein. The latter was delicious! The Prawns were in batter and deep fried, typical fare in most Chinese places but very tasty. The Sweet & Sour Chicken Balls were really good and I loved the flavour of the sauce. The serving was very generous too. $12.95 for it all. Paired it with a Tsingtao Beer.
The service was friendly and very efficient and the food was nicely presented and piping hot.


I took a good look at the Buffet on on the way out and my server suggested I try the buffet next time. “It’s very popular, you should try” she proclaimed proudly.  Sorry, I’m not doing the Buffet. However, there are quite a number of Szechuan items on the menu that might be worth trying for those of us who like 🌶 Spicy. They claim no MSG added too!

Tan’s also do Take Out, of course, plus free delivery within 4 kilometres. I’m thinking our gang of refugees from the mainland may choose Tan’s for our next at home event.  Perhaps the Dinner for ten at $128.  Not bad.

Free WiFi is available. Perfect if you can use your iPad and handle chop sticks concurrently.

Tan’s is at 332 Island Highway West in Parksville. Reservations and Delivery 250-586-8828. Open Tuesday through Sunday.

If you have not tried Tan’s and if you like Chinese Food, and who doesn’t, drop in and try it out.  I certainly plan to return. I think my favourite girl will like it too!

Just saying…

Off the Beaten Path. Port Alberni

Seriously, Port Alberni is pretty much devoid of charm. In my view this Mill town just not inviting. However, if you must go, or if you have taken visitors to Cathedral Grove, you might want to drive a few more miles since there are some eateries worth considering!  Or, perhaps you are a bit peckish returning from Long Beach. Here are a few suggestions.

We have enjoyed BARE BONES Fish & Chips. It’s on the main road if you are heading to Tofino and you will find it in an old church. They cook your fish to order, deep fried in regular batter, Panko batter, or grilled. Cod, Halibut and Salmon are all offered. We tried the traditional Halibut and it was delicious. We were there in the summer so chose the patio which is a bit noisy since it’s on the main drag but still pleasant. Inside, an open kitchen overlooks eating area some of which includes old church pews for seating. We loved it! If you fancy Fish, try Bare Bones

One spot we have not tried yet is the J & L DRIVE IN, an old style joint with car hops. A throw back to the 60’s, it’s actually been in business for more than 40 years. Burgers, Milkshakes, Fries & Onion Rings are the old faithfuls. My Hot Rod friend Paul has taken his 64 Chevy to a Friday Night Hot Rod soirée here and his report is that the Burgers are excellent. And he knows burgers. Planning on a touch of nostalgia here this summer.



A few miles past Port Alberni on the Tofino road is DRINKWATERS. This is a beautiful restaurant/bar, very tastefully decorated and featuring two large decks overlooking Sproat Lake. We found the food and service really good on our two stops here. The menu is not huge but there is something good for everyone. Featured are a range of Appetizers to share, including Moules Frittes, Nachos, Fish Tacos or the Charcuterie & Cheese board for two. Choose one of these, paired with a glass of vino and enjoy the deck,  the lake view, and the Beaver Dam in front. They also have seven upscale hotel rooms if you want to stay over. Open Friday to Sunday right now but more when summer arrives. Check on hours before you go.
One more stop you may want to consider, especially if you like Schnitzel, is LITTLE BAVARIA, not far from the Quay. Serving up Bavarian food since 1966, they offer 9 different schnitzels. The Chef, Ava, has been producing schnitzels here since 1983. We have not yet been but I’ve heard very positive reports. Trip Adviser reviews are almost all Excellent ratings and include comments from ‘Wonderful German’ to ‘Authentically Awesome’. Looks like a winner. Open Monday to Friday for lunch and every night for dinner.

A drive down to the Port Alberni Quay is always worthwhile and there are some eateries there too. The nearby CLAM BUCKET looks worth a try. Haven’t tried it but you might want to.

Port Alberni, not really picturesque but some really good places to eat.
Just saying…

Horne Lake Caves

Here is an adventure you should seriously consider if you are in the Parksville/ Qualicum Beach area.  Visit the Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park and take a subterranean tour. It is certainly worth the time and expense.

Apparently there are about a thousand caves on Vancouver Island but the most accessible are the Horne Lake Caves. About a year ago my good friend Tim and I headed to the Horne Lake Caves. We took a guided one hour tour of the main cave with two other couples and an excellent and knowledgeable guide. It was truly a fabulous experience. If you can’t walk uphill, climb over rocks and up and down ladders, watch a video. Caving is not for you. If you are claustrophobic, don’t even think about it! But if you are reasonably agile and fit you can do it.

You need good footwear. No Flip Flops or Crocs. It’s cool and damp underground, about 45F, 8C, so long sleeves and long pants is a good plan. The longer the tour, the more you will want to wear. Be sure and take your camera.

We began by walking up a long winding trail to the cave entrance. It was the most strenuous part of the tour. At the cave entrance we descended on a steep ladder into the cave then hiked some distance into the cave. Climbing over and around rocks, sometimes crouching where the ceiling is low, we saw stalagmites and stalagtites and many other interesting formations. The guide explained the history and the geology of everything we encountered. All quite fascinating.


We were all wearing helmets with headlamps, but at one point we all turned out our lights. Nothing could be darker than standing in an unlit cave. Literally, you could not see your fingers in front of your face. Black, period.

The main cave tour is $27 per person but there are several longer and pricier and more challenging experiences. All the tours and prices can be found on their website. There are some really good videos on the website too. Reservations are necessary. You can book by phone or online.

Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park is just 30 kilometres north west of Qualicum Beach. Take the Horne Lake turn off Highway 19.  Check it out.
Just saying…

More Off The Beaten Path

Wandering off the Island Highway always seems a good idea to me. Slower, prettier, and frequently some interesting points of interest or restaurants offering up deliciousness. Just south of Duncan is the village of Cowichan Bay. If you have not visited lately it is absolutely worthy of a visit.


Basically Cow Bay (as the locals call it) is a one street town with all the businesses on the water side of the road. Behind the various shops are a string of marinas making it a popular overnight spot for boaters. We have done just that and availed ourselves of the fuel dock too. Our last ever fill up of two of four tanks was only $960. Yikes.

Food is a definite feature in Cowichan Bay so you will want to arrive when you are hungry. Whether it is fine dining at the MASTHEAD, Fish & Chips at the ROCK COD CAFE or a pub lunch at the COW BAY PUB, you will find something edible to satisfy your taste buds here.

TRUE GRAIN BREAD is a must visit as they turn out wonderful baked goods and you’ll want to take some home. Nearby is HILARY’S CHEESE COMPANY where you can enjoy a local cheese and wine tasting! That sounds nearly perfect. Or you may sit down and order one of their outstanding quiches. We can recommend them.

There are a couple of coffee joints too if you are craving that no fat latte. Drop into GET PHIL’D UP.  Maybe you arrive on a sunny afternoon and ice cream is your desire. Try THE ORIGINAL UDDER GUYS ICE CREAM. They make their own every day right in Cowichan Bay.

Now that you are fed and watered pay a visit to the Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre. It’s is a really well done Museum in a building that hangs out over the bay. Included is a collection of vintage outboard motors. The museum is open Wednesday to Sunday from 9-4. I expect they have longer openings during the summer.


Before departing take a stroll down the Cowichan Bay Fisheman’s Dock. Great views of the bay and good boat watching too.

So, get off the main roads and enjoy some of the small town delights.

Just saying…

Off The Beaten Path

Residents of and visitors to Vancouver Island often drive the island highway without exploring some of the towns and attractions that are off the highway. Returning home from Victoria we often take to the side roads and cruise through Mill Bay, Cowichan Bay, Maple Bay, Crofton, and Saltair picking up the main road in Ladysmith. The trip is slower but far more interesting. Winding roads, and usually very little traffic makes for a driver’s delight.

One out of the way places you could, no should, consider is Genoa Bay. As you drive through Duncan, Turn at Trunk Road and head East ( There is a Chevron on one corner a PetroCan on the other). Follow the signs to Maple Bay. Then turn right on the Genoa Bay Road and at the end of the road you are at the Bay. It’s about 10 kilometres.

Why would you want to go there? Firstly, it’s a pretty drive. Secondly, you may want to dine at the excellent GENOA BAY CAFE. Overlooking the Bay and Marina, this cafe caters to boaters and landlubbers alike. It’s cozy inside and in good weather the large deck is very inviting. Open for lunch and dinner, the food is delicious. The emphasis is on locally sourced ingredients.

If you are lunching you may like the Brandied Garlic Escargot as an appetizer or the Manila Clams in White wine or the Famous Calamari. Halibut & Chips is a great choice for a big appetite or maybe an Angus Beef Burger. For dinner consider the Seafood Jambalaya or the Whiskey Walnut Apricot Stuffed Pork Loin. Finish with a Traditional Creme Brûlée. I have never met one I didn’t like. .

Consider arriving on Friday or Saturday for the Prime Rib dinner but be sure and make a reservation. Be sure you call ahead to see if they are open. Right now dinner only on Wednesday & Thursday. Lunch & Dinner on Friday through Sunday. Their hours expand during the boating season. You can peruse the complete menu here.


Before or after you dine, stroll down the docks. Check out the Marina Store. You might run into Will or Ben Kiedaisch, the owners, two of the friendliest guys anywhere. Take a look at the visiting yachts and you can dream about owning one. Or if you did own one you can admire them, smugly knowing you are not paying for the fuel, moorage and maintenance.
Genoa Bay is charming, friendly, and a wonderful place for lunch or dinner. Well worth the drive❗

Just saying…