Second Chance

Sometimes another visit to an eatery changes one’s opinion and that certainly happened today. Met my pal Beast at the FRENCH CREEK PUB for lunch. Haven’t been there for ages because I wasn’t crazy about the decor and ambiance. But, today we sat on their patio and it was wonderful. The patio is quite spacious with about 8 large round tables with comfortable chairs and colourful umbrellas. Fresh air right by the ocean. All manner of boats just across the parking lot. Our server was a charming young lady. She was friendly and efficient. 

We scanned the menu and saw some great sounding items.  Popcorn Shrimp. Crab Cakes, two things my favourite girl loves. Beast settled on the Chicken Caesar Wrap which was quite substantial, loaded with chicken. He pronounced that it was excellent. I chose the Cheese Burger which came with lettuce, tomato, red onion and a dill pickle. It was a really, really good burger. Both mains were accompanied by French Fries, amongst the best I’ve had recently. 

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A number of other dishes passed by enroute to other tables and they looked good. The Fish & Chips were particularly enticing as were the Fish Tacos. Our server said the Mini Lobster Rolls are fabulous.  There is no doubt that the FRENCH CREEK PUB has really good pub food. And they serve good beer too! 

Pick a warm sunny day and try out the patio. You will not be disappointed! 

We will be trying it again soon, for sure. 

If you have not been there turn off 19A at Lee Road. The FRENCH CREEK Pub is right by the marina. You can check out their website and menu here.  https://frenchcreekmarinepub.com/

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Just saying…

Golf Course Dining

I Here on Vancouver Island there are many, many, golf courses. Most of them have restaurants and most of them we have never tried. We tried Arrowsmith Golf Course for lunch a few years ago and the Fish & Chip night at Eaglecrest. A gang of us tried the Morningstar Friday Fish & Chip night 2 or 3 years ago. All of these were pretty good. But it’s been awhile. 

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So today, thanks to the organizational skill of my friend Paul, the guys lunched at Morningstar. For a time this place was closed as the course was in financial trouble. It’s currently being run by the receiver but they reopened Grill on the Green, the restaurant,  earlier this year. It’s a nice spot with a great view on a clear day. We met Chef Mel, who came by the table to tell us about the specials. We all chose Fish & Chips. Some had Halibut but I chose the Rockfish. Two pieces perfectly cooked with a light crispy batter. It was very tasty as were the fries. $16.  Not a bad price. 

Grill on The Green has special nights. Half price Wings on Wednesday, Ribs on Thursday, Fish & Chips on Friday and Chef Mel’s favourite Italian dishes on Saturday night. My friend Paul reports that he can recommend the wings and ribs. The menu has the usual Golf Course fare.  Burgers, BLT, salads etc. Check it out here:

http://www.morningstargolf.com/Portals/mnet/files/Spring%20Menu%202019.pdf

Grill in the Green is quite a nice room and on a warmer day we would have opted for the deck.

If you are looking for something local and good,  Morningstar’s restaurant is definitely worth your consideration. Morningstar is located at 525 Lowry’s Road, Parksville. There is lots of free parking  

http://www.morningstargolf.com  250-248-2244. 

There are several other Golf Course Restaurants in the area including Fairwinds & Pheasant Glen. The latter has a good looking menu and they also have a nice deck.  I don’t Golf, but that doesn’t mean I can’t nosh at a good course.

Just saying…

 

French Creek Bistro or Diner?

Since everyone keeps asking what is the French Creek Bistro like? Have you tried it?  Well, this morning I tried it. 

I dropped in to try the breakfast this morning. I was greeted by a charming young lady, Claudia, who is the owner’s daughter and who just moved here from Vernon to help her folks open the place. Her father is the baker and is the same gentleman who owned the restaurant /bakery before he sold it and it burned down. The reason they took so long to open is that after construction the RDN made them replace all the just finished drywall and the outside siding. 

I ordered a Back Bacon and Egg Sandwich and a coffee. Both were good and served quickly.  Claudia then advised  that the Cinnamon buns are amazing. The other in-house baked goods include sausage rolls,  apple strudel, etc., all baked fresh daily and ready for take-out. 

French Creek Bistro is open Monday to Saturday from 8-3. Breakfast is served from 8-11and the Breakfast menu is pretty regular although if you are really hungry you could tuck into Steak & Eggs for $15. For lunch they have soups, sandwiches and salads as expected and everyday they post a specials board. Claudia told me that lunch time has been really busy. 

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 But soon, they will also be open for dinner serving up Schnitzel, Fish & Chips, and other dinner fare. And they are getting a liquor licence so will have beer on tap and a selection of wines. 

The Bistro seats 26 at tables and 10 at the counter. Need to keep up on the news or catch the game? There are 3 large flat screens just for you.  Personally, I think it’s the French Creek Diner with home cooked, no nonsense,  good Diner food. With amazing Cinnamon Buns! 

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Give it a try. French Creek Bistro is next to Sam’s Sushi at the corner of Wembley and 19A in French Creek. 

Just saying…

New food store✔️

Foodies are always looking for something or someplace new. The other day we stopped at the Fish Store in Buckley Bay by the Denman Island Ferry terminal and discovered a charming little food store call Weinberg’s Good Food. Today I learned from our niece Nancy that Weinberg’s opened a store in Qualicum Beach last week. 

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Being somewhat curious, we jumped in the car today and went for a snoop. Weinberg’s is located on 2nd in the quaint Chilham Village complex across the street from the TD Bank. The store carries specialty food items,  some deli stuff and serves coffee, espresso, cappuccino and a few snacks. Lots of mustards, hot sauce, preserves, aioli etc. I picked up a Stonewall Kitchen Lemon Herb Aioli which will be delicious drizzled over freshly cooked asparagus .

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I chatted with the owner, Leah, who informed me that the Buckley Bay Store has been in business for 8 years. Now they have expanded to Qualicum Beach. Good for them. It is a very nice addition to the food scene. We wish them every success. 

They are on Facebook and have a web page ; http://www.weinbergsfood.com

Next time you are cruising through Qualicum, drop in for a visit. You will enjoy this place. 

Just saying…

Things Nautical

Today is a potpourri of things Nautical. 

I have been following the cruise ships to Alaska on the MARINE TRAFFIC APP.  So far this season more than 30 Cruise Ships are running out of Vancouver, Seattle and San Francisco. Holland America Lines have 8 ships in service and Princess Cruises have six. Assuming the ships are full or nearly full about 60,000 people,  or more, are cruising to Alaska weekly. What a business. 

For the first time since 2013 a large Cruise Ship visited Port Alberni last week. Holland America’s MV. MAASDAM dropped her anchor in the harbour and reportedly 80 % of the passengers went ashore. Many were bussed to Cathedral Grove. The Maasdam had been in Alaska, returned to Victoria, then Alberni, and Astoria, Oregon on the way to San Francisco. Port Alberni is expecting several more cruise ship visits this summer. Great boost to the local economy. 

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If you have ever thought about, or dreamt about cruising to Alaska in a pleasure boat or yacht then you might enjoy this website. www.slowboat.com. A guy from Seattle, Sam Landsman, leads a small flotilla of pleasure boats to Alaska every year. His website covers the journey starting on Stuart Island in the San Juan’s and ending in Alaska. He reports on each leg of the trip and includes some wonderful photos, some taken from his drone. If you open the website you can click on each leg to see the full text and photos. It is very well done. 

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Finally, if you fancy sailboat racing, the Vancouver Isle 360 race started today in Nanaimo. 37 boats started and they will circumnavigate Vancouver Island. The first stop is Comox  where they will overnight. It is 14-day journey sailing in the waters off Vancouver Island, on a route that will take them to Comox, Campbell River, Hardwicke Island, Telegraph Cove, Port Hardy, Winter Harbour, Ucluelet, Victoria and back to Nanaimo. It’s 580 nautical miles. 

If you are interested in following the race, here is the tracking website. 

http://tracker.vanisle360.com

If you click on each boats it gives the name, speed etc. 

Enjoy summer boating without leaving your iPad.

Just saying…

Tankers and Whales

There continues to be much controversy about deep sea ship traffic in the waters of British Columbia.  Environmentalists are concerned that when and if the Trans Mountain Pipeline is completed there might be one (1) additional tanker per day departing the Port of Vancouver. The concerns are twofold: safety and possible threat to the local Orcas. 

Currently there are approximately 3200 deep sea ships visiting the port each year. That includes container ships, freighters, tankers and cruise ships. So that means there are around 6400 ship movements each year or  about 17  per day. Add another tanker per day and its 18 per day. At the same time BC FERRIES make approximately 124,000 trips per year and they are adding 2700 more. That will mean 358 ferry movements per day. To think one more deep sea ship per day will have a serious effect on the Whales is not a believable argument.

 

Consider also these interesting facts. In the narrow Strait of Gibraltar there are more than 120,000 ship movements per year. In the English Channel there are about 185,000 ship movements per year. In Singapore 365,000 ships come and go per year, 1000 each and every day. The Port of Rotterdam sees nearly 30,000 deep sea ships and 120,000 inland ships each year. 14,000 ships transit the Panama Canal annually. 

Since 1970, according to the Port of Vancouver, 153,949 deep sea ships have visited Vancouver. Since they almost all arrive and depart via Juan de Fuca Strait, Haro Strait and the southern part of Georgia Strait, that means in 49 years more than 300,000 deep sea ships have transited Haro Strait etc without an incident. No collisions, no groundings, no sinkings. 

As to the concerns about oil tankers, consider that the Port of Vancouver currently sees about 30-50 tankers per year. The pipeline could cause an increase to about 400 per year. That sounds like a lot but consider that the Port of Rotterdam sees 8,200 tankers per year and the Port of Singapore sees about 22,000 tankers per year.  So Singapore has 120 tankers arriving or departing every day. Vancouver would see one per day. 

It is my view that the concerns about the safety of ship traffic in our waters unfounded. 

Just saying…

BBQ. TEXAS STYLE

Finally, I tried the Local Texas BBQ stand for a little lunch today.  It was highly recommended by my brother, who lived in Texas for 16 years so has some reasonable knowledge of Texas BBQ. The food truck/smoker combo has been around Oceanside for several years but it took until today for a trial by me. 

Texas BBQ is currently located on Highway 4A near Church Rd, across from the COOP.  A big food truck and a big old wood fired smoker is right there. You just pull up , walk over and order. Eat in your car or at one of several picnic tables provided. 

Brisket is favourite of mine so Brisket on a Toasted Bun it is.  $10 for a very generous portion. A wide selection of sauces and other condiments are supplied and I chose the Texas BBQ sauce. The brisket was fall apart tender with a nice Smokey taste. Pretty darn good.  Depending on the quantity of sauce you deploy it can be messy, so take a bunch of their napkins.  Here is the Brisket.

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The menu is more extensive than expected. One could choose a Hot Dog, Burger,  Pulled Pork, BLT and even a Pulled Pork Burrito.  And pork Back Ribs too. Lots of sides to accompany you Sandwich including Potato Salad, Baked Beans and more. Of course, soft drinks can be purchased too. 

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If you love low, slow, BBQ, the truck is definitely in your future. They are closed Mondays but open weekends. At noon today there was a line up. Always a good sign of food goodness. 

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I’m thinking a pulled pork Burrito has my name on it next time.

Just saying…

HOT DOG HEAVEN

It’s been a long time since I enjoyed a HOT DOG. Probably the last one was last summer. But I outdid myself this week. IRITEX, the irrigation supply company on the Alberni Highway had the Grand Opening of their new facility on Friday & Saturday. On site was the food cart of SMOKIN’ STREET DOGS and the dogs were free. 

As it happens, I was in need of a few parts for the drip watering system so on Friday morning it was a quick drive up Church Road to Iritex. Twenty dollars for parts, then the Hot Dog. Fried onions? Yes please. Help yourself to mustard, relish etc. Thank You.

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Of course mustard and relish found their way to my clean shirt. The Dog was delicious!  It seemed that on Saturday a few more irrigation parts were needed. Iritex, here I come. And I had another one. Two dogs on one weekend! Free!  

SMOKIN’ STREET DOGS are a local outfit who sell Hot Dogs but also cater Festivals, Fundraisers etc. Beef  Dogs, Smokies, Cheese Dogs and even Veggie Dogs are available.  You can follow them on Facebook if you have a craving and want to know where the are dishing out the tubular goodness. This coming week they will be at Buckerfieds on the Alberni Highway.  Look for this cart. 

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Just saying…

 

 

Brown’s SOCIALHOUSE

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. 

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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/.  

Just saying…