CRUISE SHIP WOES

As a result of the Covid 19 Pandemic, the global cruise ship industry is shut down. Much of the fleet sits idle at anchor in or near the Bahamas today. How large is this crisis?  The marks in blue on the chart below are all cruise ships.

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Some research on line shows that there are approximately 200 large cruise ships globally.  About half are owned by Carnival Cruise Lines headquartered in Miami. Carnival owns Princess, Holland America, Costa, CUNARD, P&O, Seabourn and AIDA. Royal Caribbean is also based in Miami and owns Celebrity with a fleet of 41. Norwegian Cruise Lines also owns Regent and Oceana Cruises and has a fleet of 29.  There are also a bunch of other lines some with smaller ships. One can see that cruising has become a huge industry.  In 2018 it was a $34 billion industry with a passenger capacity of over half a million.  The ships employ more than 250,000 people.

I roughly calculated how much revenue they are losing during this pandemic. It is probably $650,000,000 per week.  No revenue but the ships must be at least partially crewed and maintained.  The losses to the industry are enormous.

Will the industry survive? Probably, but it may be very slow recovering. Some of the ships will be mothballed temporarily.  Some of the orders for new ships will be cancelled which impacts those shipyards.  Ports of call will suffer from the lack of tourists. Victoria, Vancouver, Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway will all feel the pain.

We have been on several cruises and loved everyone. I hope the industry can recover quickly

Just saying…

 

Brazen Poppy Bakery

Looking for a spot for a morning Latte or a light lunch?  Well, you might want to slide by THE BRAZEN POPPY BAKERY in PARKSVILLE.  I’ve enjoyed coffee there many times in the past year with a variety of friends but you could check in for breakfast or lunch. 

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For breakfast they feature the Morning Skillet. Home style hash browns, 2 eggs and your choice of bacon, ham, or sausage served up with toast. Or maybe a breakfast sandwich on a freshly baked bun. Brazen Poppy has some really good baked goods including Cinnamon Buns, Strudels, Muffins and Scones. I really like the Raspberry Scones. All this is baked right there every day.

For lunch it’s homemade soup and sandwiches including burgers, as well as a daily special including Perogies, Chicken a la King, Lasagna and one of my favourites, CABBAGE ROLLS. Of course, they have a full range of coffee, tea, etc. 

It’s a nice spacious joint run by very nice people. Lots of free parking too.

THE BRAZEN POPPY is in Shelly Square at the corner of Highway 19 and Shelly Road in Parksville. They are open Monday thru Friday from 7 – 5. Closed on the weekends. Check out their web site.  https://brazenpoppy.ca And look at their menu. 

Just saying…

🎄Christmas Dinner🎄

Christmas Dinner is something we have always enjoyed at our home or someone else’s home. But this year our neighbours invited us to join them and another couple at the C View Restaurant at the Qualicum Beach Inn.  What a good idea! Why not.

So the C View had sittings at 2, 4, 6 & 8 PM and we were booked in for the 4.  The sittings were fully booked and I’m guessing they may have had a wait list. Too bad if you were one who didn’t get in because you missed a really good dinner!

Despite the full restaurant and overflowing bar, the staff did a great job of handling the hungry. They were running a bit behind schedule but we were eventually seated and welcomed by our delightful and efficient server, Marisa. 

It was a set 3 course dinner. 3 appetizers, Soup, Salad or Mini Tortierre. The Mains were Turkey or Ham and for dessert you could choose Pumpkin Pie or a Peach/Apple Cobbler. At our table all 3 appetizers were represented and all were well received. My favourite girl and I chose the Tortierre which was delicious. All but one ordered Turkey and it was a full plate. Very generous helping of Turkey, both white and dark. Dressing,  Cranberry Sauce, Creamy Mashed Potatoes and some mixed vegetables were included. It was really good and was more than most of us could finish. The one Ham eater claimed that, it too, was delicious. And there were several take home leftover packages too. 

Overall it was a wonderful Christmas Dinner.  Great food, good service, lovely venue and good friends. And the bonus…nothing to clean up! 

Christmas dinner out was a complete success.  And having cooked a small Turkey Breast at home earlier ensured that Turkey Sandwiches would be the order of the day on Boxing Day. 

If you are thinking of dinner out next December 25, you won’t go wrong at the Qualicum Beach Inn! 

Just saying…

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AIRPORT DINING IN Qualicum

Last night we met a group of our old boating friends for dinner at The FINAL APPROACH, located at the Qualicum Beach Airport. We were a group of 14 seated at two adjacent tables. Large group dinners always concern me because it often poses a challenge for the serving staff.  But not this staff.  The order taking, delivery of food and presenting the tab was all done very efficiently. 

I had previously enjoyed breakfast and lunch at Final Approach but this was the first stab at dinner. The menu includes some inviting appetizers, salads and some mains including Fish & Chips. But, on Sunday night the DINNER SPECIAL is Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding, mashed potatoes, vegetables and gravy. And it included soup or salad, and Sticky Toffee Pudding for dessert. The soup was a surprise as I was not expecting Clam Chowder. It was the best I’ve had in some time. I love Clam Chowder and would go back just for another bowl.

The entree arrived with a generous portion of medium cooked, tender roast beef and a Yorkshire the size of a cantaloupe. Perfect mashed potatoes and an nice assortment of vegetables. Delicious and a generous serving. Only $25 including the tasty Sticky Pudding served with ice cream. My favourite girl chose a wonderful looking green salad and Sambuca Prawns. Here are our entrees.

Our table partners choices included well executed Caesar Salads and a large portion of Mussels in a wine & garlic sauce. They pronounced them ‘ delicious’.  At the other table there were several orders of Fish & Chips that looked very good and they disappeared quickly. 

Everyone was very satisfied with the food including us and we will go back for sure. Next time though, it will be Crab Cakes for her and Mussels for me with a couple of glasses of Wine O Clock Pinot Grigio. 

Final Approach serves up excellent food at reasonable prices and includes friendly efficient service too. Check out their menu here; http://finalapproachrestaurant.ca/menu/

It’s a small restaurant so reservations are recommended. They are open 7 days a week.  Call them at 250-752-8966.

The restaurant does have a view of the airport but in the dark, not so much. 

Just saying…

Guest Breakfast

With the Christmas Season upon us you may be entertaining or hosting overnight guests. What to serve for breakfast or brunch is always a consideration. Something delicious but quick and easy is the best solution, in my view. But such a meal must have a bit of a WOW factor to impress your guests. 

This is my favourite go to easy breakfast/brunch. Prosciutto and Cheese Baked Eggs. Begin with a muffin pan. Spray a touch of Pam in the pan and arrange  thin sliced prosciutto in the pan depending on how many you are serving. A little grated cheese in the bottom followed by one fresh egg, a touch of pepper, more cheese and a tablespoon of whipping cream. We use grated Parmesan but you could use Cheddar, Mozzarella, Monterey Jack, or for a spicier touch, maybe a Jalapeño Monterrey Jack . You don’t need much salt since the Prosciutto and the Parmesan are already  pretty salty.  I like to sprinkle in a few red pepper flakes but not everyone likes that heat. 

Put the pan in a pre heated oven, 375F for 12- 15 minutes depending on how well cooked you like your eggs. I like them runny so 12 minutes usually works. I use a broad knife and a large serving spoon to extracate the bundle from the pan. Seems to work well and doesn’t break the egg. Serve them up with some mini croissants (Quality Foods) and a fruit cup and you have a delicious easy presentation that looks like this. And it is so delicious.  

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Well, you could kick it up with a MIMOSA! There you have a romantic brunch for two or any easy brunch for a bunch. 

Breakfast for guests made easy.

Just saying…

Lasagna to go!

Over the past year or so we have become pretty regularly consumers of pizza from SALT PIZZERIA at French Creek Landing. Their pizzas are excellent and the owners and staff are really nice, friendly folks. Whilst picking up our favourite CAPRICCIOSA pizza the other night the owner mentioned that they now offered Lasagna, ready to take home and reheat. She suggested I try one. We like Lasagna, so try one we did. 

We enjoyed the meat lasagna last night and it was really delicious. Great flavour, with 4 or 5 layers of pasta. We added a little Parmesan Cheese on top. It was large enough for 4 regular or 2 extra hearty eaters. Pair it with a nice salad and dinner is served. They make meat and vegetable lasagnas although we would always go for the meat. 

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Don’t feel like cooking? Try a take out Lasagna from Salt Pizzeria. Call first to make sure they are not sold out. 

By the way, you can eat in at Salt and they do have a Beer & Wine License and. a selection of interesting beer.

If you fancy dessert, try the Salt Spring Island GELATO!  Yummy. Take some home. 

We always order the Capricciosa Pizza but our friend Lorna highly recommends the mushroom pie. Might try it next. 

Salt Pizzeria have a website. https://www.saltpizzeria.net  and are also on Facebook. 

Open Thursday through Monday from 3:00 to 8:30 PM. 

201, 897 Island Highway. 250-586-2121. 

Just saying…

Campbell River Eatery

Our Campbell River friends Marv & Judy told me about the quite new eatery in their neck of the woods.  The BIG ROCK GARAGE AND RESTAURANT. They advise that the food is really good and they particularly enjoyed their huge bowls of Won Ton Soup. It’s not a Chinese Food Restaurant but does have very Asian flavours.  The menu features mostly seafood including sushi rolls. 

We have not been yet but the Big Rock Garage is definitely on our list. I checked out the food photos on their website and it does look good. Check it out here; 

https://www.bigrockgarage.com

Next time you are in or around Campbell River you may want to drop in.  Open for lunch and dinner.  Big Rock Garage is located at 906 Island Highway South on the way into Campbell River.

Just saying…

RICKY’S in PARKSVILLE

RICKY’S ALL DAY GRILL opened six weeks ago on 19A in the south end of PARKSVILLE.  My old colleague and friend Neil, from Victoria, was in Nanaimo and wanted to meet for lunch. RICKY’S seemed like a good choice since I had never been in a RICKY’S before. Maybe my fondness for White Spot since 1952 caused me to overlook Ricky’s. 

It’s in a brand new building next to the Arbutus Grove Motel at 1182 Island Highway East and owned by the Aarbo family, owners of the motel  since 2003.   We found it to be very nicely done, in a White Spot sort of way. I guess the owners would say a Ricky’s sort of way. Mostly booth seating with a few counter spots. Very bright with big windows all around. The menu is as one would expect. Sandwiches, Burgers, Fish & Chips are the norm here. Neil, not known to shy away from hearty groceries,  opted for the Blackened Chicken Fettuccine and rated it as excellent.

B179C28B-5C53-4A9F-A2E0-97DCDF0FA478 I chose the $12 quick lunch special, a Burger with Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, served up on a wood plank with excellent fries. The burger was right sized for me, not too big, but really good. Here is the lunch special menu. They serve up half sizes of these sandwiches. 

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Service was prompt and friendly. The staff trainer did a good job. Parking is ample too.  Here is the full menu. https://rickysrestaurants.ca/menus/

I liked my first encounter at RICKY’S and will go again. If you have not yet been to this new joint, put it on your list. 

Just saying…

Qualicum Beach Fine Dining

This week we enjoyed having overnight guests for a couple of nights. Last night our thoughtful guests treated us to dinner at the C View Restaurant at the Qualicum Beach Inn. What a pleasant surprise!

The C View has a new chef and they just launched a new dinner menu. And a good one it is, too. My favourite girl and I shared a Caesar Salad that was unusual in that it included delicious green beans. Then she chose her favourite, Crab Cakes that were pretty much just chunks of crab. I opted for the mussels which were done in a Tomato, Coconut Curry sauce that was wonderful. There were so many mussels I could not finish them all.  Some bread was included and the dish was only $22.  Our guests chose Butternut Squash Ravioli which she declared was really outstanding. He ordered Seafood spaghettini, which he said was pretty good. 

Our server was yet another foreign chap, South African, who met a Canadian girl in a bar and, of course,  ended up in Bowser. He was an excellent waiter. Efficient and charming. 

Added to the evening was a continuous serenade of live classic guitar. Very nice touch. 

Looking for a delightful evening with you true love…try the C View. I think you will be impressed with their new  menu choices.  We sure were. Here is their website https://cviewrestaurant.com

By the way, our friends Lorna & Mike recommend early dinner at the bar sharing a dish and some wine, something they do regularly. 

Just saying…

Cookware & more in Duncan

The foodie ladies that give me kitchen tips told me about a must visit cookware shop in Duncan. So, since Saturday was a beautiful, sunny, fall day, an afternoon drive with my favourite girl seemed appropriate. 

We pointed the red ILX south and an hour later found POTS & PARAPHERNALIA! 

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Wow! What a fabulous store it is. It’s in a beautifully restored old red brick building at 838 Canada Avenue in Duncan. The first step through the door almost takes your breath away as the displays are so artfully done. It’s a very spacious store full of glassware, dishes, pots, pans and pretty much everything else you might need or want. Don’t miss the upstairs where you will find stunning Duvet Covers and a grand assortment of sheets and towels and other things bed and bath. 

The very friendly staff said one must visit in December as the store is decorated in a spectacular fashion. They also mentioned that they have a sale on all bedding every August. 

POTS & PARAPHERNALIA, the ladies advised, has been in business for 39 years, 13 at the current location. The experience shows as much of the stock is tasteful, so elegant. Some of the best product displays I’ve seen anywhere.  Absolutely a must visit even if you don’t need anything. 

So if you are out for a drive or headed to Victoria or planning a winery tour in the area, include this wonderful shop on your itinerary. 

For a sneak look check out their website at  https://www.potsandparaphernalia.ca/

We took the slow road home through Maple Bay, Crofton, Chemainus and Saltair, a lovely drive on a country road. As our timing was good the ILX found its way to the CROW & GATE PUB for a 4 o’clock late lunch early dinner sometimes known as Linner. 

Just saying…