Saturday, April 30, 2011

Whole Foods and my Vancouver food

Last week I was in Vancouver for a course. I do this once or twice a year, most often at the Holiday Inn on Broadway. On this particular trip I was noticing that I have established little food related rituals that I am quite dedicated to.

1) Whole Foods: At Broadway and Cambie this place has a food bar that is the optimal in healthy buffet eating. You pay by weight and I must admit it is not a cheap meal, but it is always tasty and always different. Usually I stick to the salad bar which incorporates about 4 types of greens, a dozen chopped vegetables, several meat and cheese options, nuts, fresh and dried fruit, cooked grains and several dressings. They even include information on the relative nutritional value of many of their foods. This time though I ventured to the hot food. I got garlicky new potatoes and a tomato based bell pepper stew-like dish along with a wheatberry salad and snap peas with mint. The cost is slightly lower than a restaurant and considerably more healthy. You also have lots of variety which is a lovely perk.

2) Caffe Artigiano: We have on here in Victoria in the Bedford Regency Hotel. A Vancouver based franchise with truly great coffee, the Victoria store lives up to the franchise's coffee, but missing my next favorite thing - lemon ricotta muffins. Tangy, moist, cakey lemon muffin with creamy ricotta baked into the top. I go for at least one every time.

3) Ichibankan Express: Go in, grab a couple boxes of rolls, seaweed salad or sashimi, and walk right back out, or sit in its crowded surrounds. Cheap, cheerful and tasty. Not the most perfect rolls aesthetically, but flavourful and so fast.

Whenever you are in the Broadway and Cambie area try some of these spots and see if you want to make them part of your food rituals in Vancouver.

Friday, April 15, 2011

This came over my email today from Gabe with the Gorge Tillicum Urban Farmers.   I like the idea and should do something more along these lines myself.   Growing my own food and giving some of it away is just good for everyone.

Gabe raises some good programs I should be doing more to help with.

Hello everyone, 
Spurred on by, amongst other things, Margot and Rainey’s success with Haultain Commons (see the video at at bottom of the page) – and Rhona McAdam’s thoughts about planting strawberries in front of her house for people to pick while waiting for a bus – I’ve been thinking lately about growing food for people other than ourselves.
In a nutshell, this email is an invitation to all of us to consider growing some / a bit more food this season (and in the future) for use by others in the wider community.
Here are a few ways I’ve thought of that we might do this (and, if you have other ideas, please share them with the rest of us):
  • Plant a Row - Grow a Row: Work with the Greater Victoria Compost Education Centre as part of their Grow A Row program (
  • CUSP – Community Use Street-side Production: Grow some food along the curb, or on the boulevard, in front of our homes, with an invitation to passersby to help themselves to ripe produce. This is, incidentally, another way to promote discussion about local food and food security with people passing by our homes.
  • We might also decide to emulate the Haultain Commons model and grow food for public consumption in collaboration with our close neighbours.
To be clear, what I’m suggesting above is not (at this point, anyway) an organized GTUF activity – it’s just a seed that’s being planted. That being said, if you want to talk with me about sharing the bounty, I’d be happy to do so by email ( or by phone at 250-382-1328).
May this be a good season for growing and sharing, Gabe

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Island Wine Tasting on Tuesday April 19th in Victoria

The Wine Islands Vintners Association is hosting an evening wine tasting at the Empress next Tuesday.   I would like to go but much depends on getting care for Max.

 From their website:
Spring Tasting Event ~ April 19th
Come to mingle and sample product from Vancouver Island and Gulf Island wineries, cideries and more on April 19th at the Fairmont Empress in Victoria. This will be the launch of WIVA's Passport to the Wine Islands and the first opportunity to pick up your copy, while also meeting the authors of the newly released Island Wineries of British Columbia book. Have the winemakers and authors sign your copy as you sip away!
6:00-8:30 p.m, Tuesday April 19, 2011 at the Fairmont Empress, Crystal Ball Room
You must be 19 years or older to attend this event.
Tickets are $39 (including HST) and can be purchased either on-line (click here to go to the Taste website to purchase through PayPal; your PayPal confirmation is required for event entry) or at selected retailers listed here:
  • Cascadia in Quadra Village 
(next to Fairways Market). Open 9am-10pm seven days a week. Phone 250.590.1940
  • Cascadia, Colwood Private Liquor Store (corner of Sooke Road & Kelly Road in Hatley Park Plaza). Open 9am-11pm seven days a week. Phone 250.478.1303
  • Spinnakers Spirit Merchants
. Phone 250.360.1333.
  • Spinnakers Spirit Merchants (at James Bay Square). Phone 250- 590-3515
  • Liquor Plus Store - Super 8 Hotel. 

Open 9am - 11pm. Phone 250.385.6736
  • Liquor Plus Store - Royal Oak Centre. Open 9am - 11pm . Phone 250.479.3777
  • Liquor Plus Store - Saanich Centre
. Open 9am - 11pm 
Phone 250.708.0541

  • Liquor Plus Store - Duncan Plaza
Open 9am - 11pm 
Phone 250.709.2323
  • The Wine Barrell. 
Phone 250. 388.0606
Please email WIVA if you have any questions. We are looking forward to having you as our guest!

Monday, April 4, 2011

A strange thing on the way home from the store

I did a strange thing the other day. Or I found it odd. I have a love-hate relationship with potato chips, as I am sure many others do. I love chips, I hate the empty calories and the heavy, bloated feeling that so often occurs after eating them. Interesting isn't it, even though I know they make me feel bad, I somehow still think they will make me feel better.

My primary deep fried potato challenge in Ruffles, All Dressed Flavour. I was at the store the other day getting a quick lunch, not super healthy on its own, but not deep fried, when I saw the sale display. Two bags of Ruffles for $5 - such a deal! I immediately told my self 'no, don't do it' and proceeded to get what I had come for. Then I had to walk past the sale again. It was a walk by chipping, I didn't even slow, almost of its own accord my hand whipped out and grabbed a bag. Even as I walked to the till I was feeling the shame. With a quiet defiance I bought my salty-carby treat and headed to the car.

As I drove home I kept looking with guilt at the bag. I justified away. It is only one bag, not two like the sale could have rationalized, I do not have to eat them all at once. I can give some to the boys. I pulled into the left hand turn lane at a light and as I sat waiting, I read the sign of the homeless man on the meridian. "Broke, Hungry. Anything helps" In a moment of pure impulse I lowered my window, reached over and handed over the chips saying "they're all yours", he thanked me, tucked them behind his sign and I raised my window.

A cascade of emotions rushed through me, I was giddy with them. Relieved that I would not be eating the chips, oddly guilty that I gave them to someone who could likely have used a much more nutritious option, surprise that I would give anything to the meridian sitter at all.

It took some time for me to come down of this odd high. I am still conflicted - proud and shamed, guilty and relieved. What a strange relationship I have with this crappy bag of fried starch and artificial flavour. In a house where food is important and we believe in minimally processed, fresh, healthy food most of the time why does this little oval disc of potato hold such power?

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