June 22, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Prince Rupert, Dining
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When asked what makes his freshly-made-at-the-table Caesar salad better than all the rest, Luke replied, “There isn’t a waiter in the world that doesn’t think theirs is the best. They’re all wrong – mine is.” I was dining at the Masthead
restaurant in Cowichan Bay with a bunch of friends, and a few bottles of wine. Turns out Luke’s Caesar has a bit too much anchovy for me, but combined with a local Pinot Gris, I wasn’t complaining. We took turns guessing which movie the pianist was playing his songs from. Was that from a Ginger Rogers movie or Fred Astaire? Ah... Sahara.
More than a few of us commented on how nice it was to get such fine dining in a small town.
June 20, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Find more information about Duncan - Museums
If you have read any of my previous entries, you will know I am a big fan of small museums. I walked into another unique one a few weeks ago in Cowichan Bay. I was actually trying to go for a stroll down one of the main piers, but as it turns out the pier is actually the museum.
As I walked down the pier, I entered a series of covered sheds (like small covered bridges). As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, so click here
to check it out.
One of the sheds is set up for kids to build their own toy boat to take home. In another shed, I particularly liked the Johnson Outboard motor from 1947 that was on display – very retro chic in a maritime sort of way. At the end of the pier, there is a pavilion that currently exhibits over 30 hand-made miniature boats.
The maritime centre also restores old boats and offers boatbuilding shops, which are held in the onshore workshop. Inside, the smell of freshly carved wood hit me like a winter gale in open water. There, I met Herb Rice, a resident Coast Salish Artist, who was carving elaborate doors for a private home. Cowichan Bay is located on Vancouver Island
, just south of Duncan
June 17, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Atlin, Backcountry Skiing
First, let me apologize for not writing about this months ago, when you could have hopped on a plane and land in Northern BC
immediately. But, perhaps a winter story in summer isn't such a bad idea - it might help cool things down a bit on these hot, almost summer days we seem to be experiencing (yes, I am bragging - it has been tank-top weather here lately). I was flying to the Yukon in March and happened to be sitting by a group of travelers from Switzerland. Turns out they were all heading to Atlin
, (which just so happens to be known as the "Little Switzerland of the North," as I just read on our website) for some spring heli-skiing. They were all decked out in high-end branded downhill ski clothing, i.e., Volkl, and looked like quite sleek and serious skiers (as opposed to baggy-clothed, laid-back boarders). I must admit, it seemed a bit odd to me to see an elite bunch from Switzerland, land of world-famous skiing, head to the most northern point in British Columbia for some snow. I confess that until that day I knew very little about Atlin and their corner of the world. Anyhow, when our plane flew over Atlin, every passenger looked out the window. The view was spectacular. Puffy, white mountains stretched out. Glaciers bounced sunlight right back at us. Snow, snow and more snow. The plane was silent except for oohs and aahhhs. The guy sitting next to me said, "This is a once in the lifetime trip for me, I have always wanted to come here." Looking out at the view, I could definitely understand. In fact, I was half ready to don a pair of expensive sunglasses and join their crew. And now, I suppose, if you so feel inclined, you have all summer and another nine months to plan your trip there too - and save all your pennies. And then, perhaps next winter while you are sipping an apres-ski drink, I will write an
June 05, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Campbell River, Museums
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Although I appreciate both, I prefer hands-on exhibits to formal, hushed galleries. And when I entered the Museum at Campbell River
I was fascinated with the touchy-feely texture and layout of the award-winning exhibit, which is themed around the Northwest First Nations 9,000 year history in the area, with spotlights on the logging and fishing industries.
My family and I started our visit by entering a small, dim lit theatre where a First Nations story was told through a multitude of elaborately carved wooden masks. The Treasures of Siwidi, a story owned by the Kwakwaka'wakw families (I love that name), tells the journey of a young man to the Undersea World where he encountered a host of supernatural creatures.
The rest of the museum is filled with First Nation artifacts and poles, a cross-section of a felled tree, the life size replica of a 1920’s pioneer floathome, a replicated hotel lobby, rowboats, gillnets, tuna cans and more - each room demanding more and more of our curiousity. My four-year-old spent time driving an antique logging truck while my eleven-year-old practiced netting cod, pumping water and ringing the camp dinner bell (the other visitors laughed at all the noise, not something you typically see while taking two loud and rambunctious kids through a museum). Things quieted down a bit as we settled into the art deco theatre to watch historic film footage of the famous explosion of Ripple Rock.
Overall, a highlight of our trip, something not to be missed.
June 02, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Vancouver, Boating & Sailing
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I love being outside in Vancouver
in the summertime, especially since my office is about a five minute walk to the waterfront. Last summer, as I was strolling along Coal Harbour, I noticed a boat rental sign. Well… as you can imagine, it didn’t take long to organize a lunchtime boat ride for a few friends. Four of us grabbed hot dogs from a street vendor and boarded our speed boat. Maximum speed in the harbour is S-L-O-W, so we had lots of time to watch float planes, sailboats, cruiseships and Stanley Park go by, although it didn't take long to get beyond the marker and let loose at full throttle.
Within one hour, we roared under the Lions Gate Bridge, zoomed across the inlet to West Vancouver
(nice waterfront mansions to ogle over), zipped up to Lighthouse Park
and flew back again to Coal Harbour. We came back a little “soar” from jumping the waves (WAY too much fun!) and our bellies hurt from laughing. Definitely a perfect way to enjoy a sunny day.
We rented our boat from Coal Harbour Boat Rentals (Telephone 604-682-6257) for $55 per hour, but they do have a smaller one for $30 per h our. Other boat rentals in the Greater Vancouver area include Sewell’s Marina
in Horseshoe Bay (boot over to Bowen Island) and Bonnie Lee Boat Rentals
in Granville Island.
May 12, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Find more information about Vancouver - Dining
I am not a huge fan of oysters, but I’m game to throw one back every now and then - as long as you shove it in a shooter glass full of spicy-something or another with vim and vinegar added in for good measure. That being said, I happened to run into Rodney’s Oyster House
as part of a scavenger hunt yesterday, and I think I may have been instantly converted into one of those obsessed slurpers I keep bumping into.
While I have never been to Cape Cod or Martha’s Vineyard, I would expect Rodney’s would fit in there just swell, with white-washed wood, hand-painted driftwood signs, hanging buoys and …er, hanging around beach-bum-looking-boys.
Here are two tips I picked up for you. 1. Happy hour is from four to six with oysters for a buck a shuck. 2. In the summertime Rodney (I assume he hangs out there too somewhere) opens up a garden patio for picnics -Wednesday through Saturday 11:30 AM to 10:00 PM (weather permitting). Rodney’s is located in Yaletown
May 12, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Vancouver, Sightseeing Tours
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British Columbia has, yet again, won the RV-friendly Welcome Mat Award! For the fourth year in a row, Good Sam Club members (1 million of them) have voted British Columbia as the most RV-friendly province to visit. I have spent more than a few nights in a camper (small C class) and have would to agree – not that I’m biased or anything.
March 31, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Find more information about Victoria - Dining
Funky and whimsical, those are the two words that come to mind as I sit and eat my yogurt, mango, banana parfait (served in an ice cream sundae glass) with raisin toast on the side. The walls are grass green to match the wheat grass growing in pots above the bar. Metallic cake pans adorn the walls adjacent to the front door and Godzilla perches above my table peering into my oh-so-freshly-squeezed orange juice. I am in rebar
, a restaurant that proclaims to serve Victoria’s healthiest and funkiest food. At this point, I would tend to agree.
The waitress talks loudly about her gourmet picnic the day before and a regular customer makes the rounds hugging the staff. The juice bar menu includes items with names like Capital Iron Basement, Haiku and Cathedral Groove. My vinyl tablecloth explodes with an over-the-top flower pattern in primary colours. Overall, healthy for my tummy, entertainment for my ears and eyes.
The kitschy corner restaurant is in Bastion Square, downtown Victoria
March 30, 2006 | Tips from Us >
Find more information about Kelowna - Dining
I had dinner at the Old Vines Restaurant at the Quails’ Gate Winery
a few weeks back. I must admit the food was fabulous – while I was hesitant purchasing a Thai fusion plate at a BC winery, the dish was incredible, especially following an afternoon of wine tasting at other vineyards.
Along with the tab, I picked up a little tidbit I thought I would share with you. Quail’s Gate holds Wine Appreciation Evenings, where you can “learn about the history of Quails’ Gate’s wines and winemaking, taste wines and explore the art of food & wine pairing.” Sounds like a rather nice way to get into the Okanagan mood. Reservations required, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
February 23, 2006 | Tips from Us >
North Vancouver, Snowshoeing
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A bunch of us went snowshoeing last night at Grouse Mountain
. While the trek beside Blue Grouse Lake and along the side of the ski run was quite easy and relatively short, we quickly learned the best reason to take their Snowshoe Fondue tour had nothing to do with the snow or the shoe - it was the cheese fondue! We ended up in Altitudes Bistro for our dinner complete with 4 different fondues: traditional cheese (yum!), vegetarian bouillon, curry bouillon, and chocolate. Waiting for us were plates of salmon, scallops, prawns, chicken, beef, pork, tofu, potatoes, and an assortment of vegetables. Hands-down, the winner of the evening was the never-ending bread basket. Imagine baguette slices drenched in bubbly warm, melted cheese, which I assumed was french raclette. The other table favourite was the banana bread sloshed in liquid chocolate. However, Jackie prefered to just spoon it down straight. Overall, we all left with in a state of "fondue-pig-out-induced-stupor", as quoted by Mark, and managed to happily wobble our way back to the gondola for our ride down the mountain.