New Westminster’s Wild Thyme

I had heard great things about Wild Thyme, the New Westminster restaurant that serves Lebanese food so this week for a lunch meeting a colleague and I popped in to give Wild Thyme on 12th Street in New Westminster a try.

Wow. No wonder there is such a buzz about this place! Incredible flavours.

Wild Thyme

We each started with a green salad. And no word of exaggeration, I was basically full after the salad! It was massive. And full of amazing flavours of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

I have to admit that we made a strategic error when we ordered. We did not realize that the lunch “mains” were so large. Honestly, we should have ordered one lunch entree. Instead we ordered two.

Wild Thyme

After we finished our salads another plate arrived at the table – four dips and a massive piece of bread fresh out of the brick oven in the restaurant.

Wild Thyme

The bread was still puffy and full of delicious heat from the oven.

Wild Thyme

Then our entrees arrived! You would think that I would know how to take a better picture of food than the one above. The problem is that the restaurant is so small I could barely move back from the table to try and capture an image!!

My lunch entree was the cauliflower bowl. Except it wasn’t a bowl but a dinner plate loaded with smoky roasted cauliflower and heaps of unknown deliciousness. I actually took more than half of it home.

My lunch companion ordered the 1/2 meat, 1/2 chicken “bowl” which came in a full sized frying pan! There was enough food in that dish to feed four people! And the flavours…out of this world!!

I will definitely be returning to Wild Thyme but we will be sharing a lunch or dinner entree next time. I have no hesitation recommending Wild Thyme.

  • Wild Thyme is located at 705 12th Street, New Westminster

 

Posted in Food and Drink | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Whistler to The Burbs Via Electric Vehicle 

Yesterday we returned in the Nissan Leaf from Whistler to our homes in the burbs of Vancouver.

When we left Whistler we had almost 100% charge on the batteries after the car being plugged into a 110 volt standard electrical outlet overnight. The guess-o-meter suggested we had about 140 km of range in the batteries.

We left the car in a parking lot and toured around the village for a couple of hours. When we left Whistler village the rain was really coming down and it had cooled off significantly – we were using the electric car seat heaters and the defroster was blowing air to keep the windows clear.


When we got into Squamish we were relieved to see that the owner of the white Nissan Leaf had finally moved their car so we could pull in and charge our Leaf. We charged for 12 minutes which topped the batteries up from approximately 50% to 84%.


After an EV’s batteries are charged to 80% the chargers slow the charging down (it is a safety and battery protection thing) so it is not an efficient use of a level 3 charger to keep charging once you are at 80%. We were checking our social media accounts so we didn’t notice that we were at 84%. That gave us an approximate range of 150 kms. But after driving an EV you start to be aware of road conditions and you pay more attention to the road.

For example, we knew that it was cool and wet so we would be using the heaters. We also knew that the road from Squamish to Burnaby would be driven at highway speed and we would be going up some big hills. Of course we would also be coming down some hills so that’s an opportunity to recharge as driving. Bottom line, just because the car says 150 kms, don’t rely on that 100%. Be aware of the battery percentage as well as where and how you are driving.


We got back to Burnaby and the batteries had 16% charge left. That’s good for about 30 kms. The owner of the car wasn’t worried because he had a meeting scheduled for the next day less than 12 kms from his home and he knows there is a charger he can plug into.

It is a little more work owning and driving an electric vehicle. You need to think about where you are going and where you can get “fuel” for your vehicle but overall, it is a very liberating feeling to be able to drive from the burbs of Vancouver to Whistler and back without burning a drop of gasoline.

Posted in Vehicles | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Whistler Beer Festival Via Nissan Leaf

My EV road trip is now in progress. I am in a Nissan Leaf headed to Whistler to take part in the beer festival.

I will update as we progress. For now, here is the data as we leave home:

That is 139 km of range in the batteries as we leave. And 83% charged.

Update – we are now in Squamish at a level 3 charger. We should be able to boost our batteries to 80% in 20 minutes.

We traveled from Burnaby to here in Squamish, a total of 77 kms and dropped from 83% to 37%. The “guess-o-meter” says we still have another 75+ kms of range.

However, someone else is charging at this time. So we wait until they come back. A goofy thing about charging at a level 3 charger is that after you reach 80% charge, the charging slows down to a trickle charge and so it could take another 35 minutes for his battery to be charged to 100%. That’s not an efficient use of the charging station.

Something that the EV community is still working out is the etiquette around whether an EV charging station is a parking spot or a CHARGING spot.

You wouldn’t park in front of a gas pump! Why Park your EV in front of the level 3 charger and then walk away making it so other EV owners can’t use it? It is about etiquette.

So we unplugged the poor etiquette Leaf, plugged ours in for 20 minutes and we’re back up to 86% battery level. That’s more than enough to get to Whistler AND back here to Squamish.

Arrived in Whistler after what I would describe as a spirited drive from Squamish to Whistler – nobody passed us.

The reality is that from Squamish to Whistler is a pretty significant climb in elevation. So although we used a lot of battery to get here, even if we didn’t charge here we would have more than enough to get back to Squamish because the Leaf would be charging all down the downhill section.

Oh, and that Leaf that was parked in the charging station? When we left Squamish it was still parked in the charging and another EV owner was charging their car while double parked beside the Leaf. Etiquette!!

Posted in Vehicles | Tagged | 3 Comments

Farm Town Meats; Steak for Dinner

I have been crazy busy this week with work and making plans to head off to Whistler for the Beer Festival so I haven’t had a chance to sit down and tickle the keyboard. I have to admit, I have also been out with my kids riding our bicycles -soaking up the last few days of warm, sunny weather.

Anyway, yesterday I slowed down a little and cooked up a nice little steak from Farm Town Meats in Burnaby, just a couple blocks north of 10th Ave on 6th Street. Grass fed, grass finished New York strip loin for $15 a pound? Okay.

Farm Town Meats

I gave the steak a little rub with some extra virgin olive and then I shook on a healthy helping of the rub I got from Re-up barbecue and I let it sit on the counter at room temperature while I got the grill ready.

Farm Town Meats

I got the grill good and hot before flopping the steak on it.

Farm Town Meats

Five minutes – timed to the second on one side and then I flipped the steak over and let it cook for another four minutes. After that it was onto a plate to rest.

Farm Town Meats

After rest time was over I sliced the steak into strips and proceeded to eat.

 

A perfect dinner at the end of a very long week.

Now, I’m off to Whistler to get paid to drink beer!

  • Farm Town Meats is located at 7832 6th St, Burnaby. Ask for Josh, he is the owner/butcher of Farm Town Meats.
Posted in In the Kitchen | Tagged | Leave a comment

Just Some Hot Lunches

A few pictures from some of the lunches I enjoyed this past summer.

Lunch

First, a bowl of ramen from Kamamarui on Royal Oak Ave in Burnaby. Good. Not the flavour punch to the taste buds that I was hoping for.

Lunch

Next up, a lunch platter at Dunn’s Famous downtown Vancouver. The fries at Dunn’s Famous are outstanding. Even better? Their egg rolls with smoked meat inside them!!

Lunch

Of course my burger from Five Guys Burgers was also an flavour sensation. The Five Guys have perfected the meat to bun ratio. The slice of tomato adds just enough “vegetable matter” to make it feel almost healthy. Again, awesome fries. Don’t be fooled by them – unless you are going into Five Guys with a hungry football team, just go for the regular size fries. They are very generous with the fries.

Lunch

Then there is Spacca Napoli Pizzeria in Port Moody. A real wood fired pizza oven!

Lunch

The pizza at Spacca Napoli is totally different than any other pizza I have ever had. First thing, they give you a massive pair of shears (scissors) to cut the ultra-thin crust pizza. And then once it is cut, you sort of need to roll up the slice of pizza to eat it.

It is nothing like the pizza you get from most other pizza places. I will definitely be returning to sample more of their menu – hopefully some of their pasta dishes!

That’s it. Just a few random pics of food from my lunches from this summer.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Food and Drink | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Scrambled Eggs Gordon Ramsay Style

Here is a “shot-by-shot” breakdown of my video of the Gordon Ramsay style eggs that I cooked a few weeks ago.

Gordon Ramsay Style Eggs

I start with eggs – I like free range, farm fresh eggs bought from a farmer. I refuse to pay the silly price that grocery stores demand for free range, farm fresh eggs so I cut the grocery store out of the action and buy from a farmer. Easy to do on my way up to my cabin. Not as easy in the city.

Gordon Ramsay Style Eggs

First, I use a good quality non-stick frying pan. Sure I love my cast iron frying pans but for doing eggs, I like a very good quality non-stick for doing eggs.

I get the pan hot on a medium heat and melt a dollop of butter in that pan.

Gordon Ramsay Style Eggs

Once the butter is melted, I crack the eggs into that pan. When doing scrambled eggs, for two people, I use three eggs, four people, I use four eggs.

Gordon Ramsay Style Eggs

Get the eggs stirred up. Let them cook a bit. And THEN lift the pan of cooking eggs off the heat and keep stirring. I lift the pan off the heat until I hear the sizzling slow to a stop.

After a short while (30 seconds-ish) I put the pan back on the heat.

Gordon Ramsay Style Eggs

Then, I add a dollop of sour cream. Sure, Gordon Ramsay uses crème fraîche . I’ve actually never known anyone who has crème fraîche  in their home kitchen. So I use sour cream. In the picture above I have a heavily loaded teaspoon of sour cream in place of crème fraîche.

Gordon Ramsay Style Eggs

I get the eggs and sour cream mixed together and get it cooking again.

Gordon Ramsay Style Eggs

I typically lift the pan off the heat once more to slow the cooking before I let the cooking complete. The drier you want the eggs to be, the longer you need to let them cook. I prefer creamier scrambled eggs.

That’s basically it. Scrambled eggs Gordon Ramsay style.

 

Posted in In the Kitchen | Tagged | Comments Off on Scrambled Eggs Gordon Ramsay Style

Coming Home Cafe New Westminster

Catching up on a couple blog posts that were left as drafts before I took off with my kids for an 8 day trip to the interior of BC.

This one is really simple, great Eggs Benedict with good pan fried potatoes at the funny little restaurant called the Coming Home Cafe in uptown New West!

The Coming Home Cafe is located at 753 6th Street in uptown New Westminster.

Posted in Food and Drink | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Coming Home Cafe New Westminster

Our Failed Electric Vehicle Trip Up the Fraser Canyon

A few weeks ago I posted about a plan to drive up the Fraser Canyon in my friend’s Nissan Leaf – an all electric vehicle. Well, as I said in my update right in that post, our EV trip up the Fraser Canyon did not happen. Not because of lack of interest or willingness, only because the electric vehicle charging infrastructure was not supportive of our efforts.

Because these are still the relatively early days of electric vehicles (almost ten years in) it is important to check the condition of public charging stations before you go on a roadtrip. And before we left the city, we definitely did check with the Plug Share app to see what was happening with the charging stations we planned to use while on our trip. The results were not good. 

Our plan was to leave Coquitlam with a full charge on the Leaf and drive to Mission where we would stop for a bite to eat and put the car on a level 2 charger to boost the charge a little bit just to make sure we had lots of power “in the tank” on the next leg of our trip into Hope. 

According to the Plug Share app, the charger in Mission was online and user info indicated that the charging station was working well. 

Our plan was to drive from Mission to Hope where there is a level 3 charger. A level 3 charger can provide an 80% charge in approximately 20 minutes – just enough time to wander over to the Blue Moose Coffee shop and grab a coffee to go. 

This  is where we foresaw our first hiccup. The level 3 charger in Hope was offline. Offline meaning we could not get a charge. Yes, there is a also level 2 charger in Hope but that would require a three or four hour commitment to get enough of a charge to get us to our next charging station. That I do from the app stopped our trip before we even left the city. 

If we had been able to continue our trip, the next leg would have been from Hope to the Canyon Lanes level 3 charging station in Boston Bar. Even though our trip was effectively derailed because of the lack of charging in Hope, out of interest, we checked the Plug Share app to see the condition of the charging station in Boston Bar. Again, like the level 3 station in Hope, the Boston Bar level 3 charging station was also offline and user information indicated that it had been offline for an extended period of time – with no indication that it was going to be available any time soon. 

Imagine if business treated gas stations the same way! You arrive at the gas station in Hope or Boston Bar and the attendant says “sorry, we are out of gas and we are not sure when we will get more.” Sure, there is only a tiny fraction of cars on the road that are electric vehicles but before that percentage of vehicles can, or will, increase there needs to be a concerted effort at making sure charging stations are available at regular intervals around the city and along our highways. And perhaps more importantly, that the charging stations are regularly maintained so that they are available for drivers to use. 

So in short, our electric vehicle trip up the Fraser Canyon is on hold for now. 

Posted in Vehicles | Tagged | Comments Off on Our Failed Electric Vehicle Trip Up the Fraser Canyon

Those Big Questions

Do you ever wonder about what you are doing “with your life”? Do you ever stop and think…what the fuck is it all about? Am I on “the right path”? Or even, is there a right path to be on? Or why are we not supposed to end a sentence or question with a preposition? 

Do you ever wonder if the “work” you do is actually making a bit of difference to the world? Will the world be a better place as a result of what you or I have done? 

I remember when I was about 16 years old I was talking to my boss in a welding shop and I told him an assignment I had from school was to think about “what I want to do when I grow up.” 

My boss, a 65 year old guy, told me that if I figured out how to figure that stuff out, be sure to let him know because he still didn’t know what he was going to do when he grew up. 

Do we just keep doing until it we are too tired to do anymore? 

Thoughts? 

Posted in Life Musings | Tagged , | Comments Off on Those Big Questions

Boat and Tool Rentals 

About a month ago, before my guts fell out and I had to be hospitalized for just over a week, I decided to trim the final holly hedge at my mother’s house in Burnaby.

tool rentals

While a holly hedge is a thing of beauty to some, it can be a beast to trim. And if you do not trim a holly hedge every year, it gets BIG very quickly.

So I TRY to commit to trimming the hedge every year. Last year didn’t work out so well for the hedge and me but this year, I managed to get all three hedges done – front and east side of the yard and now finally the west side of the yard.

tool rentals

One thing that I have accepted is the advice that my boat-loving buddy has given me – rent your tools!

It took a while for my boat-loving buddy to learn this lesson. In the past he was always trying to buy a boat. But he could never afford a boat that fulfilled his boating dreams. He was always settling for a boat that was too small for what he wanted to do or too old to be reliable.

And then he discovered boat rentals. Now for the two weeks of the year that he wants to go boating he rents the boat of his dreams.

No longer did he have a broken down or tarped over boat sitting in his driveway that irritated him every time he pulled into or left his home.

The same goes for me and the hedge trimmer. Instead of me buying a top quality hedge trimmer for close to $1000, I simply rent the hedge trimmer for a day. I go to my local tool rental place and for $75 I get a trimmer that is sharp, well-tuned, gassed up, and ready to go on the first pull of the starter cord. Bam.

tool rental

And at the end of the day of hedge trimming work, I simply take the hedge trimmer back to the tool rental shop and let them clean it up and take care of it for the rest of the year until I need it again.

Tool rentals. Like boat rentals, it is a good idea.

Posted in Life Musings | Tagged , | Comments Off on Boat and Tool Rentals