It was a first time for us at Brown’s Social House in Nanaimo. My favourite girl and I met some old friends for lunch today. We were surprised at the size of Brown’s as it is so much larger than it looks from the highway. It is nicely done inside, warm and cozy. It features a large open bar in the middle of the room.
Interestingly, Brown’s was founded by Scott Morrison, originally a cook at Earl’s Restaurants and later a founding partner in the Cactus Club. After 18 years with Cactus Club he sold his shares and opened the first Brown’s in 2004, on Lonsdale in North Vancouver. From the get go it was his plan to franchise the concept and has done so successfully with more than 50 franchise operations in Canada. The owner of the Nanaimo store also owns the ones in Victoria and Langford.
Today our table of 8 enjoyed a variety of dishes. Two had Fish & Chips which were well received. I chose the Beef Dip which included caramelized onions and sautéed mushrooms. Calamari, a crispy chicken sandwich and a spicy rice bowl along with a gluten free dish for one of our friends completed the table choices. It was all really good, if a touch pricey.
The service was very friendly and efficient. Excellent! The manager even came by and introduced himself which is a special touch.
This is the fourth Brown’s location we have tried and we will definitely be back again soon.
The Nanaimo location is in the mall on Enterprise between 19A and Metral Drive.
Here is their web site. http://brownssocialhouse.com/.
Had lunch today with the boys at a unique spot, The MOUNT ARROWSMITH BREWING COMPANY. It’s located at 425 Stanford Ave E in Parksville. And it’s pretty darn good.
We all went with a Flight of Beer, 4 different varieties and you choose your medicine. I opted for the Arrowsmith Blonde, the Salish Sea, the Comfortable Chum and the IPA. All were good with distinctive interesting flavours. This is a real craft brewery and they know their beer. The Arrowsmith Blonde Ale is an award winner.
The lunch and snack menu is limited but includes Wings, Tacos, Flatbreads and a cheese tray. I took a run at the Tacos. Two for $13.50. Coconut Prawns in one, Crispy Chicken in the other. Fresh & delicious. I really enjoyed them both. They are served with some wonderful in house made corn chips with salsa on the side. A couple of the guys had the wings which they enjoyed. We will all go back.
It a funky kind of joint with darn good food. They have a patio, too, with picnic tables and umbrellas which would be enjoyable on a warm summer day. And there is good parking right in front. Open for lunch until 7:30 most days.
You can check out their beer and food menu at
Oh, and did I mention, they have GOOD BEER!
Well, we haven’t been to any new restaurants lately but my brother and sister in law have. While in Victoria not long ago they had brunch at THE VILLAGE on Estevan Avenue in Oak Bay just about 3 blocks from Willows Beach. Interestingly, the restaurant location was a grocery store in the 1950’s where I worked a a delivery boy.
The Village now has four locations, all of which are open for Breakfast and Lunch 8-3. The breakfast menu includes 7 kinds of Eggs Benedict and 5 different Omelettes. Lunch offerings look really good with some great soups and sandwiches. How about the UPLANDS, (of course the Uplands district is just blocks away) Sandwich. Brie, apples & toasted walnuts on toasted cinnamon bread? Or maybe a Montreal Smoked Meat?
The other Village locations are Torquay on Shelbourne Street near Mount Douglas Park, Royal Oak on West Saanich Road and Chinatown on Store Street near the new Johnson St Bridge. They also do Take out. Maybe pick up a smoked meat sandwich and drive down to Dallas Road to enjoy.
On our next trip to Victoria we will try THE VILLAGE for sure. You can check out their menus at
Finally, after changing the date several times on the ‘opening soon’ sign, Ricky’s All Day Grill in PARKSVILLE has broken ground. The sign says opening Fall 2019. It is going up on 19A across from Serious Coffee.
I’m often asked when the FRENCH CREEK BISTRO is opening? Next to Sam’s Sushi. Who knows? Not open as of today. Stay tuned.
When it first opened we tried Salt Pizzeria and thought the pizza was really good. At that time they only offered one size, a large 14 inch pie. That’s too much for us and we are not big fans of pizza leftovers. So we have not been back until today.
Salt Pizzeria have added small 10 inch pizzas to the menu. Perfect size for us. They now offer 16 distinct pizzas and tonight we chose the CAPRICCIOSA.
Tomato sauce, mozzarella, bocconcini, ham, artichokes, kalamata olives and mushrooms. It was delicious. Really thin crust and generous toppings. $16. We picked it up. You can dine in if you wish as they have about 6 tables and can deliver beer or wine to your table.
The usual array of pizzas are available but there are some I’ve seen no where else. Mexican has tomato sauce, cheese, braised pork, pineapple guacamole and cilantro. West Coast includes olive oil, goat cheese, smoked salmon red onion, kale and capers. Both sound good to me. Those two are pictured below.
If you like pizza and have not tried Salt Pizzeria, you must. Located in the FRENCH CREEK Landing on 19A. Check them out on Facebook or on the internet at http://www.saltpizzeria.net.
Open from 3-8 Thursday thru Monday.
Mostly I like to write about food and restaurants but I saw this article regatding renewable energy and why it’s a farce. I think you will find it particularly interesting. When the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine…go Nuclear
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.
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.
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.
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/
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.
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
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
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.
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,