Joe Fortes Seafood and Chop House

Joe Fortes Seafood and Chop House on Thurlow Street in downtown Vancouver is a rare downtown eatery that combines a decent lunch special with a cool venue. It was a slow Friday where a bunch of us decided to go out for lunch and catch up. A co-worker suggested Joe Fortes because of their Blue Plate Lunch specials for $9.95. On this particular November day they were offering any of their blue plate specials. This meant that you weren’t stuck with the Tuesday Thai BBQ Chicken special if it were Tuesday. You could have it on Friday. We were seated […]

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Kitsilano Sushi – Octopus’ Garden

Yes…just like the Beatles song, this restaurant will take your taste buds under the sea! This little place is an awe-inspiring, intimate sushi restaurant in the heart of the Kitsilano neighbourhood in Vancouver. The Head Chef, Sada, hails from Japan and the freshness of his ingredients and his presentation skills are unparalleled. This little gem is our favourite sushi spot. With dishes like “iron show” sizzling tuna or wagyu beef, spot prawns, lobster, an excellent array of sashimi/nigiri, tempura, broths, or vegetarian options/rolls, and a wonderful sake/wine selection, the scintillating flavours are for everyone! We highly recommend calling ahead, and […]

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Urban Fare – groceries and eatery

Urban Fare is an upscale grocery store in Vancouver with many extras. There are four locations in Vancouver: 177 Davie St. (Yaletown), 1133 Alberni St. (downtown beside the Shangri-La hotel), 305 Bute St. (Coal Harbour), 1688 Salt St. (Olympic Village). The chain is an offshoot of the more aggressively priced Save-On Foods. But Urban Fare is not the place you go for grocery deals. What it does have is higher quality products than you might see elsewhere. It’s definitely the emergency “Honey get me something on the way home from work I’m making pasta sauce” destination. However, at lunch time […]

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Stanley Park Ghost Train 2017

Each year the miniature train in Vancouver‘s Stanley Park puts on a ride through the woods where they make a family friendly spooky adventure. This year’s theme is Alien Invasion, which gives nods to all the famous alien abduction themes from the 1950s to the X-Files. The train itself is a small sized replica (hard for my tall body to squeeze into) of Canadian Pacific Railway Engine #374. This is the first engine to arrive in Vancouver and the original full-sized engine is on display at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre in Yaletown. But the fun is the […]

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Nero Belgian Waffle Bar Vancouver

After a short stay at the Sheraton Wall Centre, it was time to go home and I promised my kids breakfast. However, the hotel breakfast was too complicated and too expensive for my children’s tastes and my wallet. So my tech savvy iPhone addicted older child looked for breakfast places near Burrard and Nelson. It was a bit further than I wanted to limp, but we arrived at the Nero Belgian Waffle Bar at 1002 Seymour St. It’s not that big inside, but they use the outside space well with effective heaters to offset the chill of an October morning. […]

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Sheraton Wall Centre Vancouver

The Sheraton Wall Centre in Vancouver is located on Burrard Street across the street from St. Paul’s hospital. It’s walking distance to a movie theatre, downtown Vancouver. I had the fun of using the hotel as a post operative recuperation zone. For reasons too boring to go into, I could not make it home after some abdominal surgery. Booking.com had some deals and I booked in advance, making sure I confirmed the date before the cancellation date of the reservation, which was 3 days before the scheduled surgery. There was a small line up at the front desk in the […]

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Rathtrevor Beach – Sea it to believe it!

For three days and two nights, I was invited to visit my good friend’s family as they spent the last remaining weeks of summer in Parksville on Vancouver Island. I was beyond excited because not only had I not seen my friend in forever (well at least, it felt like that to me) but I had never been to Parksville! I left on a week day, meaning no ride to Horseshoe Bay for me! I took the 257 Horseshoe Bay express bus to the ferry terminal and jumped on the next boat to Nanaimo. It was about an hour and […]

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Tiger Lilly Farm Errington BC

The family decision was to ride horses. Of the four of us, I the eldest, last rode a horse in the early 1990s a couple of years before our trail guide was born. I didn’t feel old at all, no sir. The rest of the gang was equally out of practice or inexperienced. Errington is near Coombs and only 10 minutes from Parksville. Tiger Lilly Farm is a left off of Highway 4A on Errington Road. Tiger Lilly Farm offers trail rides and a farm petting zoo. This part is perfect for younger children, especially those with limited exposure to […]

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Mooberry Winery and Little Qualicum Cheeseworks

On 403 Lowrys Rd, Parksville you will find the Morningstar Farm, which is home to two businesses: the Mooberry Winery and the Little Qualicum Cheeseworks. The Morningstar Log Cabin that greets you. The whimsical and comic layout of both these businesses is to be admired. And it’s refreshing to find because on Lowry’s Road there’s creeping urban development and a Save-On Foods, which I suspect would never stock their products, is a mere 2.3 km away. It’s easy to find your way around the farm. The wines are all fruit wines ranging from apple (close to apple cider but not […]

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Shopping in Qualicum Beach

Qualicum Beach shares tourism marketing with Parksville but are two rather different towns. Parksville has the “miracle mile” feel along Highway 19A with Tim Hortons, Starbucks, Domino’s Pizza and other national chains. Qualicum Beach on the other hand has only local vendors with lo-branding. The closest is the Quality Foods store, Lefty’s restaurant and the LDB (Liquor Distribution Branch) store. They have other branches in Parksville and, in the case of the government run liquor store, beyond. A few years back a shopping trip to Qualicum Beach yielded so-so results because the stores seemed generic and bland. This trip however […]

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